Innovative Courts | Community-Based Programs
While the trend in the juvenile justice system has been away
from rehabilitation and toward punishment, there are efforts underway
that focus on understanding the causes of delinquency and developing
innovative ways to address these problems. Innovative courts are
designed to address some of the core reasons for juvenile delinquency.
Juveniles identified at the time of arrest as having specific problems
are diverted to programs that have corresponding expertise. Youth
courts, also known as peer courts or peer juries, often are used
with first-time offenders. Although the courts vary, most are staffed
with previous offenders and community volunteers. Peers serve as
judge, jury, and counsel. Offenders who are convicted are given community
service. These programs have proven to be effective in reducing
recidivism among first-time offenders and have been favorably received
by communities (Butts et al. 2002).