ABOUT US TB Youth CourtA Big Problem Facing Our Community:
Youth of color are more likely than their peers to be arrested, charged, adjudicated delinquent, and detained in a juvenile facility. The ACLU, the ACLU of Ohio, the Children’s Law Center and the Office of the Ohio Public Defender are monitoring these disparities, termed “disproportionate minority contact,” and released a Report Card: Evaluating Juvenile Justice in Ohio.

This project is successfully addressing the following needs:

  • Engage disengaged youth and their families
  • Build long term positive relationships
  • Hold youth accountable for their actions while preventing Juvenile Justice System involvement
  • Shift school culture by peers holding each other responsible for their actions
  • Provide recruitment, positive direction and support for at risk youth/families
  • Strengthen youth/family relationship with LHS, police, peers, and the community
  • Increase parental involvement and community contribution
  • Provide hands on learning of the Justice System
  • Provide leadership and educational opportunities

Disengaged youth are more likely to get into trouble. Youth who have been involved with the Juvenile Justice System are more likely to enter the Adult Correctional System. The Time Bank Youth Court program has been developed over the past seven years based on models located with a long history in (1) Washington, D.C., (2) Dane County, WI, and (3) Bethlehem, PA . It integrates principles such as restorative justice, reciprocity, social networking, respect, focusing on personal strengths rather than deficits, and redefining work with well-researched lessons regarding youth development, resiliency, peer support and mentoring.

This model is designed to intervene with youth whose behavior has shown that they are at risk of criminality which would normally result in their referral to the juvenile justice system. By interacting with community law enforcement in constructive ways, experiencing judgment by their youth peers, working with community members, and responding positively over a 60-day period, young people are able to avoid acquiring a juvenile record. In popular language, they can “turn their life around.”

Our Audience:
The school district, the police department, and the TimeBank work together to provide an alternative for youth who would be receiving citations for their behavior. This collaboration provides a new tool for police officers and school staff, which focuses on a restorative and strength based approach for handling youth behavior in the schools. It helps to strengthen the relationship between youth, families, and the police as well as re-engages youth in their community and school in a more positive way

The Causes of the Problem:
To build an informed and effective citizenry, prepared to deal with the crises of everyday life, more schools, local and state governments, and communities are searching for ways to provide civic engagement programming for youth. A Path to Civic Engagement, September 2003

We begin our partnership by doing a small community based youth court pilot. We would focused on one specific neighborhood and have neighborhood officers referring appropriate youth to the youth court. We will record specific data to start with allowing the project to be more contained and easier to measure in terms of effectiveness. It’s anticipated that the police write a significant number of tickets in the area high schools, so we hope to explore moving our community based youth court program into other high schools. We plan talking about the needs of each organization as well as our capacity. If it is apparent that all parties felt the best approach is additional youth courts, we would explore locations.

Short-Term Results:
Eligible youth are redirected into the Time Bank Youth Court at the point of arrest by police officers at each school, prior to being entered into the formal juvenile justice system, giving offenders the option of avoiding a juvenile record. The referred youth’s case is then heard by a trained jury of his or her peers. The jury gives a sentence using restorative justice principles, and the respondent has 60 days to complete the program. If he or she is successful, no arrest record is created by the Police Department and nothing appears on their record. This model promotes leadership development, long-term positive relationships, and recreational, service, skill-building and economic opportunities for teens and their families. It provides a social framework and activities that help divert a youth from disruptive or anti-social activities.

Medium-Term Results:
By allowing offending youth to receive a meaningful sanction from a jury of their peers rather than incarceration or further punishment, Youth Courts have been shown to be cost-efficient prevention and intervention strategies throughout the country. Participation in Youth Courts has been demonstrated to reduce recidivism rates while helping young people develop positive connections to their community. A Youth Court also provides non-offending youth the chance to gain knowledge of the legal system, develop leadership skills, public speaking skills, and ongoing positive relationships with adults and peers, and get involved more directly with their school and community. All participants learn the value of reciprocity and have the experience of helping others.

Through the TimeBank, such understanding and self-efficacy is enhanced through service to others. At the conclusion of the youth’s sentence, youth are given the option to continue participation and earn TimeBank Hours for their service. The transition from mandated services to involvement in the TimeBank sustains the benefits of the Youth Court experience. Sentences are specifically designed to encourage this.

Long-Term Impacts:
The project has been successful in achieving the following program goals/objectives:
Goals/outcome objectives for referred youth:

  • Diverting youth from the formal Juvenile Justice system into a community-based network that provides tools needed for success and holds youth accountable to their peers, school, and those wronged by their offense.
  • Experiencing being “judged” by peers introduces positive peer pressure, resulting in the offender feeling more accountable and their consequences more meaningful. Youth become more aware of how their actions affect those around them and are less likely to make the same mistake again. This has led to fewer tickets written, fewer disciplinary problems, and a safer school environment.
  • Maintaining an ongoing relationship with youth. This helps avoid recidivism by connecting youth with members of their community and their school through skill-building, leadership development and other positive activities.

Goals/outcome objectives for all participants:

  • Engaging disengaged youth/families by increasing the number of youth/families who are actively involved in volunteering, service learning or other contributing roles in their homes, schools and communities. Demonstrating active linkages established to their community, school, and peers and maintaining these positive relationships.
  • Increasing the number of young people providing assistance to other youth.
  • Breaking down social barriers and increasing positive interaction of youth from different ethnic, geographic, or socio-economic backgrounds, including youth from different social groups within the school or surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Providing leadership opportunities, skills and rewards for participating in the governance, program development or evaluation of the Youth Court.
  • Providing opportunities, skills and support that strengthen the youth’s ability to obtain employment or further education.
  • Strengthening participants relationship with the law enforcement, school officials, and other authorities.

Sources and References:

Click here to down load this file “ABOUT US”

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Tony Budak

    Building Community Justice With TimeBank Youth Courts
    Draft Discussion Working Paper, Tony Budak, 2015-04-22

    Invite and involve the community, young and old, in creating a practice of community restorative justice with young people. See, this web page ABOUT US: TimeBank Youth Court

    TimeBank Youth Courts are best understood when there is extensive active engagement by the community co-producing restorative justice. For example, see the following text from a current program.

    “The goals of this (TimeBank Youth Court) program are to provide an opportunity for youth to avoid getting involved with the formal juvenile justice system by appearing before their peers and completing sentencing activities assigned by their peers; provide a structure for youth offenders (here forth known as ‘respondents’) to become more engaged with their community; provide a structure for those youth to remain engaged beyond their formal sentences, earning credits for activities and items that enhance learning, recreational, and economic opportunities; provide learning and leadership development opportunities for jurors; develop an atmosphere of mutual accountability among teens; develop programming, such as Life Skills Classes, that can be offered beyond the Youth Court context, including as an additional option for school discipline.” (Dane County TimeBank Youth Court)

    Campaign Process: Four Concurrent Roles and Teams Operating in the Creation of TimeBank Youth Courts:

    The public must be informed through a series of exploratory discussions, presentations, and phone calls about a Community Justice focus. It’s important to invite and include the participation of young people.

    The provided information will allow individuals and organizations to self-select into fulfilling one or more of the following four key ROLES.

    Implementing each of the following levels must provide the human resources to achieve the Community Justice TimeBank Youth Court outcome.

    Leadership Network of young and old to act as ambassadors and endorse a vision/dream to bring young people and community members together to speak out on behalf of the TimeBank Youth Court (TBYC) program.
    o For example, Ambassadors are organizations, professionals and social or political leaders, i.e., TimeBank Mahoning Watershed, various block watches, youth groups and clubs, schools, churches, law enforcement/police members, business owners, and anyone that wishes to give moral, verbal, and public support to this effort.

    Executive Advisory, Board of Directors, or steering committee of members for the initial research, for TimeBank Youth Court (TBYC) and responsible for the program guidelines and oversight.
    o This is the group that will organize and design a specific program, i.e., research Timebank Youth Courts models to reverse engineer and implement locally.

    Administration or staff roles. These are people to do the day to day management and operation of the TimeBank Youth Court (TBYC) program.
    o For example, a key person or a small administration team in this area is crucial to pull all elements together. This is the core staff to write proposals, raise funds, train and administer the TimeBank Youth Court program.

    Community Service Support. Volunteers to mentor, counsel, coach, work with young people either in one on one, in small group settings, and in continuing youth development efforts.

    As the overall campaign process moves along, all are invited to register their skill set with the TimeBank, so that all four levels of community service work effort is data-based. All meeting, planning and implementing, is honored and rewarded with Time Credits spendable on TimeBank socials and programs, which creates a Community Justice mutuality network.

    This program provides learning opportunities for youth that the formal juvenile justice system is not able to provide. The same is true for the school district. As their budget shrinks, bringing additional resources from the community is essential in meeting the needs of some students. The TimeBank is what links everyone together. Through the TimeBank, the community connections and additional support structures for youth, the schools, and the police are all linked in place. We need each other

  2. Marie Wilson Nelson

    Tony, thank you so much for pulling together all of these documents. I’m going to share them with leaders locally. They’ve been exposed, when Edgar Cahn and Chris were here last year, but I haven’t had all of these documents in one place before. That alone is a huge contribution to the restorative justice movement. I will try to read your document soon. Today I’m dealing with my friend’s biopsy.

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