There are many city and state government programs that are devoted to the reduction of juvenile crime and to the rehabilitation of juveniles who commit repeat offenses. Juvenile justice programs are established to benefit the juveniles and their parents, and often they contain interesting components that are meant to both inspire and rehabilitate youth offenders.
Interesting Juvenile Justice Programs: Teen Court
Teen courts can be found all over the United States, and are a creative way in which juveniles are both represented and opposed by their peers. Usually, teen courts are a group effort of the schools, the probation departments and the juvenile court system through which juveniles are tried by a jury of their peers – teenagers – and are sentenced accordingly.
In most cases, teen courts have creative and rehabilitative sentences such as community service, drug classes, counseling, curfews, tutoring or writing essays. They may also be ordered to write a letter of apology to the victim of the crime, and report to a probation officer to ensure compliance. Visit www.agyp.org for more information.
Interesting Juvenile Justice Programs: Los Angeles’s Juvenile Traffic Court
Despite the name of this interesting court, many different cases are heard here, including offenses like truancy and curfew violations. The goal of this juvenile court is to dispose of all cases within 45 days and to assign punishments tailored to the juveniles and their offenses.
Judges often provide reasonable grounds for dismissal, provided that the juvenile makes good grades or attends school every day or any other type of rehabilitative order. Visit www.lasuperiorcourt.org for more information.
Interesting Juvenile Justice Programs: Denver’s Project New Pride
This is a community program geared toward serious juvenile offenders, such as those convicted of assault or burglary. The offenders participate in the program, whose volunteers help the juveniles to apply for jobs, start small businesses, get tutoring for school and become productive members of society. Often, their sentences are lessened if they comply with the program and complete it successfully.
Interesting Juvenile Justice Programs: Boston’s Offender Project
This program is geared toward violent juvenile offenders who show tendencies toward psychological or emotional trauma as a reason for their criminal behavior. Groups of counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists have come together to provide therapy for young violent offenders who need support and guidance. Visit www.ncjrs.org for more information.
Interesting Juvenile Justice Programs: The Allegheny Academy
This is a program that has spread nationwide, and consists of an alternative program where juvenile offenders go after school and on weekends. They receive counseling, tutoring, job training and learn skills that keep them busy and out of trouble. Visit www.theacademysystem.com for more information.