November 4, 2011 > Youth Peer Court
Youth Peer Court
On Tuesday, November 1, Santa Clara County held the first session of a newly formed Youth Court. Announced during the 2011 State of the County Address by Supervisor Dave Cortese, President of the Board of Supervisors, the Youth Court will allow juvenile defendants to be "sentenced" by a jury of their peers.
"If incarceration worked, we would not see the high levels of recidivism that occurs today," said Supervisor Cortese. "This program focuses on restorative justice - for the victim, the defendant, and the community - to show the defendant how his or her actions affect the victim and the community. Allowing the defendants' peers to provide the 'sentencing,' it has a greater impact on their understanding of the impacts of their crimes."
The idea behind the program is that youth are more likely to listen to and be held accountable by their peers than from an adult in authority. The Youth Court will target youth ages 14-17 willing to participate in the program with their family. All courtroom staff, with the exception of the judges and bailiff, will be youth volunteers from local high schools. The court sessions will be held twice monthly.
For more information, contact Steven Blomquist at (408) 299-5030.