Teen Court is a form of Restorative Justice

Teen Court is a diversion program for low level, juvenile offenders to help them recognize the harm they caused, the impact of their choices and opportunities to repair the harm, without entering the juvenile justice system.

Teen Court hearings operate as mock court sessions run by teen volunteers who are trained as attorneys, jurors, bailiffs, and clerks and advised by actual legal attorneys. Teens who participate in Teen Court plead responsible if they decide to accept their diversion contract. They then receive sanctions that aim to repair harm that they may have caused, encourage self-discipline and restore the offender back into their community. Participants have 90 days to complete their sanctions. Upon completion of the Teen Court program, the teen avoids getting a charge on their record.

Restorative Justice

Sentencing Plans

After hearing each case, volunteer jurors recommend a sentencing plan for each defendant, which includes sanctions designed to help young people learn about the legal system and work toward repairing the harm caused by their decision. If the sanctions are successfully completed within the 90-day time limit, the offense is dismissed and will not be placed on the teen’s record. If the young person responsible does not complete the sentencing plan, their case is returned to the referral source for the justice system to pursue the case.

Sentencing Plans may include:

  • Community service
  • Jury duty
  • Monetary restitution (Pender County only)
  • Written or verbal apologies and essays

Youth Volunteer Opportunities

Student volunteers are needed to support Teen Court! Student Volunteers may participate as clerk of court, jury foreperson, defense and prosecuting attorneys and serve as role models for their peers and maintain high standards of conduct. Student volunteer trainings are held in September, and student volunteer meetings are held before Teen Court hearings. Student volunteers must attend the training and student volunteers are only accepted in the Fall. Adult volunteers are accepted on a rolling basis.

Contact Tamia Boyd at Tamia@ciscapefear.org  for New Hanover County Teen Court

Contact Carrington Kennelly at PenderTeenCourt@ciscapefear.org for Pender County Teen Court

Adult Volunteer Opportunities

Student volunteers are supported by a team of adult volunteers who act as:

Judge – Presides over Teen Court hearings; licensed attorney, law student (2L or higher) or sanctioned New Hanover or Pender County Judge

Mentor Attorney – Aids youth attorneys in preparing cases and provides constructive feedback on youth attorney courtroom performance

Jury Monitor – Sits with the jury to ensure all members are listening intently, guides jury deliberation and ensures punishments are fair and just.

Restorative Justice Judge

Pender County CIS Gives Back

CIS Gives Back provides Pender County juvenile offenders an opportunity to be held accountable for their actions, while giving back to their community. The program partners with more than a dozen local government entities and businesses to facilitate opportunities for participants to complete their community service.

For more information, please email info@ciscapefear.org, or call 910-343-1901.

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