The Youth Peer Jury Program works with the Police Department and provides a meaningful and remedial method of dealing with selected juvenile (under age 17) offenders without referral to Juvenile Court.
Purpose of the Jury
These proceedings do not determine the offender's guilt or innocence. The offender must admit guilt before he/she is allowed to appear before the youth peer jury. The youth peer jury's purpose is to provide a means for the young offender to account for his/her behavior to a group of their peers.
Youth peer jurors will attempt to determine why the offender did what they did and how the offender can be helped to see what they did was wrong.
Deciding a Punishment
The youth peer jury consists of a panel of 6 juveniles and 1 adult moderator. Youth peer jurors must have a good understanding of the facts of each case. To achieve this understanding, jurors ask questions of the offender, his/her parents, and the Juvenile Officer during the hearing of the case.
The jury then deliberates and fixes an appropriate punishment. This commonly includes some form of individualized community service.
The Police Department is currently seeking volunteers to serve on its Youth Peer Jury Court. Applicants must be of good standing and be between the ages of 13-17. Those serving will hear actual criminal cases involving juvenile offenders. Interested persons are encouraged to contact Detective Thomas Burns at 630-529-9868.