What is Teen Court?
Teen Court is a program for teens, ages 10-17, who commit misdemeanor crimes or ordinance violations such as curfew, theft, disorderly conduct, underage alcohol or tobacco use, or minor criminal damage. First time offenders admit their guilt and volunterily enter the Teen Court System as an alternative to Juvenile Court. The Teen Court Panel is made up of 4-6 high school volunteers who go through training in Restorative Justice. They determine an appropriate sentence for the youth offender.
How Does Teen Court Work
Cases are presented in the Oconto County Courthouse in front of the Teen Panel. Everyone in the courtroom takes an oath of confidentiality. The offender is sworn in and questioned by the teen panel to determine the circumstances of the offense. After carefully listening to the facts, the teen panel leaves the courtroom to discuss a constructive sentence for the defendant. Examples of sentences could include letters of apology, community service, essays, projects, counseling or workshops.
Teen Court Members must:
- High school student, grades 9-12
- Open minded, mature, sensitive to others
- Respectful of confidential information
- Able to attend training sessions (two six-hour trainings)
- Agree to volunteer for at least one year
Benefits for Teen Court Panel Members include:
- Community Service
- Experience that stands out on your resume
- Broader appreciation for our community
- Deeper knowledge about the issues facing youth in our community