Teen Courts | Teen Ink

Teen Courts

March 6, 2009
By Emily Greisz BRONZE, Vancouver, Washington
Emily Greisz BRONZE, Vancouver, Washington
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Teen courts are for kids ages 13-18 that have committed non-violent and first 'time offenses. The court is run by both adults and teens volunteers. The teenagers have many different parts like the roles of jurors, lawyers, bailiffs, clerks, and even judges. Teen courts are run by middle-schools and high-schools and different organizations like the YMCA. The punishments handed out to the offenders include community service, letters to the party offended, counseling, and classes.

Teen courts are a controversial issue because many people believe that the teens involved in the court are too immature and inexperienced to administer the law correctly. If you look around you at many teens in society, you will see that this seems like an often correct judgment. But there are others who think that teens could be useful in court because there are so many positions that need to be filled in the many courts today and they think that teens can take these parts.

People who are against teen courts also believe that law breaking teens should face up to full-on adult courts and take the punishments that they give, rather than going to a teen court which will issue too soft of a punishment. But supporters of the courts say the teen courts are good because they battle peer pressure and promote justice to teens.

Thirdly, people fear that teens that run the courts may become 'drunk with power' and act unjustly and wrongly towards the criminal youth. On the opposite side, it has been proved that teen courts reduce recidivism, which means that once a teen has been convicted and sentenced in a teen court, they are unlikely to relapse back into crime afterwards the punishment.

Finally, people argue that the teens who are tried do not take the court seriously because they doubt the court. But because the message of justice is coming from the tried teen's peer group, it is much more effective and the lesson is very meaningful.

Therefore, I believe that teen courts should be allowed everywhere and should be throughout the country. Through my findings, I now believe that teen courts are the best way to administer lessons and punishments to teens who have committed their first non-violent crime. Personally, I know that if I were the one being tried, I would take to heart what my peer group says, rather than what adults say. So if you are interested in law, then find a teen court near you and help set other teens back on the right track!

Work Cited List:

Work Cited List:

Buck, Janeen. Butts, Jeffrey A. Coggeshall, Mark B. The Impact of Teen Courts on
Young Offenders. April 2002.

Connect With Kids. Teen Court. December 3, 2008.


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Teen Court. Fall 1997.

Nessel, Paula A. Teen Courts and Law-Related Education. 1999. ERIC Clearninghouse

for Social Studies/Social Science. Bloomington IN.

"Teen Courts." Issues & Controversies On File. 10 Mar. 2006. Issues & Controversies.
Facts On File News Services. 16 Jan. 2009 .

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