What Is Youth Court?

Youth Court is diversion. Youth Court provides alternative sentencing to first-time juvenile offenders in the District of Columbia and serves as a unique pre-petition diversion program for non-violent offenders. The goal of Youth Court is to divert first-time youthful offenders, ages 13–17, away from the juvenile justice system and provide a meaningful alternative to the traditional adjudicatory format in juvenile cases.

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Youth Court is innovative. Youth Court has a fourteen year history of providing successful peer-to-peer services to youth and is recognized as one of the largest youth courts in the nation.

Youth Court is success. All youth who were diverted to Youth Court since January 2003, whether successful or unsuccessful, have only an 11% re-arrest rate one year from the date of original arrest. Read more about the recidivism rates here.

Youth Court is justice. Youth Court enlists young people in creating a new kind of juvenile justice where youth juries have the power to impose a sentence on  offenders and where non-violent youth can avoid formal prosecution for their offense by carrying out the sentence imposed by their peers.