Youth court programs strive to nurture in youth a respect for the rule of law, help develop positive citizenship attitudes, encourage civic engagement and promote educational success through a diversity of service learning opportunities, strategies and activities. Youth courts are structured to provide positive alternative sanctions for first-time offenders by providing a peer-driven sentencing mechanism that allows young people to take responsibility, to be held accountable and to make restitution. Positive peer pressure is used in youth courts to exert influence over adolescent behavior.
In addition to imposing constructive sanctions for juvenile offenders, youth courts also offer a powerful set of civic opportunities for youth in the community. Youth volunteers actively learn the roles and responsibilities of the various parts of the judicial system. They act as law enforcement professionals, prosecuting and defense attorneys, clerks, bailiffs, jurors and even judges to gain experiential knowledge of the juvenile justice system. The youth respondents and volunteers acquire valuable understanding about police and probation officers, youth services workers and court administration, paving a path for academic and career building opportunities.
Youth courts alternative sentencing results in reduced costs per case as compared to the traditional justice system and result in reduced recidivism rates. Youth courts are an effective strategy for reducing juvenile delinquency, allowing young people to take responsibility for their actions in benefit to their communities and to learn community engagement skills.
The Southwest Valley Youth Court is held on the 2nd Thursday of every month at 5:45 pm. It is located at the Riverside County Superior Court – Temecula Building, 41002 County Center Drive #100, Temecula, CA. Please contact one of our Youth Court coordinators at the police department for a volunteer application.
Youth Court volunteers must meet the following criteria:
• Must be between the ages of 13 and 17
• Must be in good academic standing
• Must abide by the rules of the program
• Must sign and respect the “Oath of Confidentiality”
• Must demonstrate maturity and sensitivity
Volunteers will receive community service hours.
If you are looking for comprehensive information about the Youth Courts, it can be found at www.youthcourt.net
Corporal Chuck Swearingen