Teen Court is an alternative system of justice. It is a diversion program for low level, juvenile offenders to help them recognize the harm they caused, the impact of their choices (personally, in the family and within the community) and opportunities to repair the harm, without entering the juvenile justice system.
Teen Court supports the adoption of positive decision-making skills by using restorative justice in promoting peer mentorship, leadership opportunities, and resources for young people and their family.
The creative and constructive sentencing in Teen Court is intended to educate, encourage self-discipline and restore the offender back into their community.
After hearing each case, volunteer jurors recommend a sentencing plan for each defendant, which includes actions designed to help young people learn about law and work towards repairing the harm caused by their decision. After the Teen Court plan is 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 plan, their case is returned to the referral source and District or Juvenile Court will pursue the case.
Sentencing Plans may include:
- Community Service
- Jury Duty
- A skills group that may focus on making appropriate choices, peer-pressure, decision-making, substance abuse issues and the effects of stealing on the community.
- Monetary Restitution
- The jury may also impose written or verbal apologies and or essays.
Student volunteers support the CIS Teen Court programs to positively influence the lives of young people in our community. Team members serve as role models for their peers and maintain high standards of conduct. Volunteers participate as clerk of court, jury foreperson, defense and prosecuting attorneys. Volunteer meetings are held one time per month before the Teen Court hearings.
Student volunteers are supported by a team of adult volunteers who act in the below roles:
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.
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 local organizations such as schools, churches, civic groups, government entities and non-profit agencies to facilitate opportunities for the juvenile to earn money to pay restitution to their victims. It offers the opportunity to repair some of the harm caused by their actions, while providing service to the community.
For more information, please email Gracie@ciscapefear.org, or call 910-343-1901.
New Hanover County Mediation Services
The target population for the CIS Mediation / Restorative Justice Program is middle and high school students (ages 11 to 18) referred by New Hanover County Schools administrators, school resource officers/law enforcement, or juvenile court counselors. This program is designed to serve youth on diversion plans, or youth that are at-risk, and accepts clients involved in verbal and physical altercations. Youth who are at risk for becoming involved in more serious infractions at school, in the community, or with law enforcement would also benefit from this program.
Participants have the opportunity to work through their dispute in a face-to-face setting with a trained, adult facilitator guiding them through the process. They then have the opportunity to continue to work with the facilitator either individually, or together as needed. Many of our students live close together and bring neighborhood problems into the schools, or vice versa. We aim to divert problems that may continue in the community until they are dealt with and a resolution is found.
For more information, please email Tamia@ciscapefear.org