American Fork Youth Court offers an alternative approach to juvenile justice in which youth who have committed minor offenses are sentenced by a jury of their peers rather than facing a juvenile court. The AF Youth Court is fully authorized by the state to employ a restorative justice-based approach that applies the skills and abilities of American Fork youth. The Court is intended to provide a positive peer influence, hold youth accountable for their actions, and to strengthen their ties to school and community. Youth Court is an alternative to a juvenile court for many first-time offenders. The program has three components: 1) court hearings, 2) peer mentoring, and 3) peer mediation. Juveniles who are referred to Youth Court must admit to the charge and must voluntarily agree to attend the program.
During the school year, Youth Court is held every other Wednesday; case review begins at 3:00 pm, and Court hearings begin at 3:30 pm. During the summer months, Youth Court is held on the first Wednesday of each month. The Court is located on the first floor at 75 E 80 N in American Fork, UT.
Panels of youth volunteers trained in restorative justice principles conduct the court hearings. The youth panel deliberates and comes to an agreement on appropriate sentencing, which almost always includes a required amount of hours of service to the community. Other sentencing options may include written reports, apology letters, a referral to a short-term juvenile facility, or restitution. Reviews are scheduled to follow up with the juvenile receiving the sentence. If anyone does not comply with their sentencing requirements, they are sent back to the referring source or Juvenile Court. Juvenile offenders who fail to show up to their hearing will have extra hours added to their sentence.
Youth applicants to the Youth Court program are chosen based on their grades, good attendance, positive attitude, and commitment. After an applicant becomes a youth volunteer for Youth Court, he or she will undergo training by attending Youth Court, observing, performing assigned tasks and working towards the greater responsibly of ultimately acting as a youth judge on the Youth Court panel. If you are interested in volunteering for Youth Court, contact Mrs. Mallory Morris for more information at email@example.com.
The Youth Court is directed by 1 paid employee and 1 volunteer who act as adult advisers to the youth. The role of the advisers is to recruit, educate, train, guide, and advise the youth involved in the program.
You may reach out to the Youth Court via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.