Youth Court is a system that allows young people who have violated the law to be held accountable by their peers. Trained youth community volunteers act as advocates and judges using the restorative justice framework to create an agreement for all.
The Maine Youth Court is a system that allows young people who have violated the law or school rules to be held accountable by their peers through restorative justice practices. In the Maine Youth Court, youth community volunteers are highly trained and supported to act as advocates and judges in the process, diverting low-risk offenders from traditional punitive disciplinary systems.
Youth Court is available for any youth from Portland to Bath who has committed a first time, non-violent offense. Three youth advocates and three peer judges are assigned. One youth represents and supports the victim and one youth advocate represents and supports the victim and one youth advocate represents the community.
Using a restorative justice framework, each hearing is designed to create an agreement which will:
1. Reconnect the respondent to the community
2. Increase the knowledge, skills, and resources of the respondent
3. Build off the unique strengths and talents of the respondent and
4. Repair the harm done.
Peer Support is available throughout the process, and partnership in the community allow for tailored agreements which may include substance abuse education, treatment, mentorship, community service and more.
A successful completion of Youth Court keeps youth out of court, out of the juvenile justice system, and increases their positive contribution to their community.
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