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Youth Courts: Getting the Most Out of the Deliberation Process (Video)

NCJ Number
Date Published
16 pages
This federally funded training video contains two youth court scenarios (shoplifting and assault) where the viewer or youth volunteer is presented with all the facts and circumstances surrounding each case and, as one of the jurors, applies what they learned to deliberate and determine the appropriate and fair disposition for the defendant/delinquent.
Youth court, teen court, or peer court is a program where delinquent youth are sentenced by their peers for minor delinquent or problem behavior. Within youth court, the deliberation process is seen as a critical component. This training video and facilitator guide, prepared by the National Youth Court Center and funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, was designed to educate youth, court jurors, or judge panels on the deliberation process. It offers them the ability to be better prepared to recommend fair, constructive, appropriate, and restorative dispositions for youth court defendants/delinquents. Through the video, the youth volunteer is presented with two youth court scenarios, shoplifting and assault/school fight. The youth volunteer takes on the role of juror where he/she will review all the facts presented in each case before final deliberation in order to determine a fair and appropriate disposition for the youth/defendant. The youth volunteer will be shown what happened, will hear from the people involved in the case, hear the defendant’s testimony, and will then be asked to determine an appropriate and fair sentence. However, before making a recommendation or constructing a disposition, the youth volunteer will need to think about and consider the four steps in the deliberation process: (1) who was harmed; (2) what has the youth/defendant done; (3) what needs to be done to make amends for his actions; and (4) what were the circumstances affecting his life? In addition, the victim or victims in each case must be taken into consideration. In conjunction with the video, a facilitator guide provides a lesson plan outlining the learning objectives, materials needed, session overview, watching the video, deliberation exercise, reporting back, and conclusion and wrap up. A deliberation activity sheet is provided in the facilitator guide to assist in the discussion process. The video and lesson plan will assist youth courts in preparing their youth volunteers more effectively and efficiently.