Oregon Youth Court Association

Youth Court & Community- Where Character Counts

Oregon Youth Court Association

The Oregon Youth Court Association is a non-profit organization designed to create a network for youth court supporters, provide technical assistance to anyone in Oregon interested in starting a youth court, and to gather data and research to show the benefits of youth court. 
What is Youth Court?

Youth Court is a diversion program for first time offenders who commit certain misdemeanors or violations and have no previous record. The youth are held accountable for their law breaking activity through a court system that allows their peers to be their jury and render a constructive sentence.

The young offenders must be willing to admit to his or her offense and accept the sentence given by peers.  Youth Court is a volunteer program. Offending youth are given this option in lieu of formal proceedings.

The jury is comprised of young volunteers aged 12-18 recruited from Jr. and Sr. High Schools throughout local communities.  Volunteer youth most likely receive training before they serve on the jury and in some communities have the option of serving as a bailiff, case presenter, youth attorney and judge.

Community Benefits

Youth Court provides an opportunity for...

Youth Volunteers to learn more about the legal process.

Defendants to be held accountable for their law breaking behavior.

Youth to learn job skills and gain experience while completing community service work and other requirements.

Why Youth Court?

Due to the volume of serious crimes being committed and the caseload size of Juvenile Departments, youth whose law breaking activities are of a less serious nature, often experience few consequences for their actions. 

Quite often, youth may get the impression that they are not going to be held accountable for their offense or that their behavior is of no consequence.  Therefore, the natural progression is to repeat offenses and often, the offenses are more serious. The first time offender frequently becomes the second and subsequent offender under these conditions. 

Programs such as Youth Court, have consistently proven effective in reducing the rate of repeat offenses by causing youth to take responsibility for their actions and by providing them with the support of a positive peer group. 

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