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Overview of School-Based Youth Court Program Design Options (From Selected Topics on Youth Courts: A Monograph, P 41-63, 2004, Tracy Godwin Mullins, ed. -- See NCJ-208164)

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2004
23 pages
Based on interviews with staff that are currently operating school-based youth court programs in middle and high schools, this paper discusses the structure for such programs and offers suggestions for those interested in starting a school-based youth court.
School-based youth courts are operated by and within schools to handle school-related disciplinary cases, although some also accept referrals from the justice system that involve delinquency and status offenses. School-based youth courts have tended to produce the benefits of reducing the number of student detentions and suspensions while providing a quick and effective means for teachers to deal with disruptive students. One design option for a school-based youth court is to make it part of the school's curriculum as a required or elective class, with the teacher serving as the youth-court coordinator. The court would hold hearings as needed, usually in the classroom where the course is taught. Under another type of design, the court would operate as an extracurricular activity at school. Hearings would be held after school hours, usually in a schoolroom; however, some programs hold hearings in a courtroom or other public building away from the school. After identifying resources for program development and implementation, this paper reviews program and policy issues that must be considered, such as gaining the support of stakeholders, the development of partnerships, funding, staffing, volunteer recruitment and training, types of cases that will be accepted, referral and intake process, case scheduling, sentencing options, noncompliance, parental involvement, victim and community involvement, and confidentiality and retaliation. A checklist of tasks is provided for those who wish to develop a school-based youth court. 9 figures and 3 references

Date Published: January 1, 2004