Teen Court

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“Empowering Our Youth Through Restorative Justice for a Brighter Future.”

Website: forgeevolution.org

Phone: (719) 475-7815

What is Teen Court?

Colorado Springs Teen Court is a unique and highly successful approach to addressing juvenile crime. This independent non-profit program provides a restorative justice alternative to the regular Municipal Court sentencing for first-time misdemeanor offenses committed by young people between 10 and 18 years of age. The purpose of Teen Court is to hold youth offenders accountable for their actions and assist them in making better life choices through relevant sentencing options.

How Does Teen Court Work?

Defendants who meet the Teen Court guidelines may be referred by Municipal Court. Most Teen Court defendants must plead guilty to their charge and will receive a deferred sentence. The parent or guardian must agree to attend the Teen Court sentencing hearing, which may be in the form of a mediation, a peer panel of student volunteers, or a Teen Court trial in a courtroom with student attorneys. Teen Court charges a fee for participation in the program.

What Types of Sentences Might be Imposed by Teen Court?

Sentences typically include community service hours and participation in a future Teen Court trial as a juror. Sentences may also include restorative justice classes for specific offenses, a life skills class, letters of apology, or restitution to the victim. Parents or guardians are responsible for any fees incurred by the sentencing requirements.

Why Choose Teen Court?

Teen Court follows restorative justice principles. The defendant must recognize and accept responsibility for the harm caused by his or her choices and take action to repair the harm. The teen-led sentencing process, together with office staff follow-up, allows for more individual attention for each Teen Court defendant. Because of this, the re-offense rate for juveniles who complete the Teen Court program is 7%, as opposed to 40-50% for similar cases in the regular court system.