Youth Using Restorative Justice to Serve Their Communities and Help Their Peers
St. Croix Valley Youth Court processes first time teen offenders who accept responsibility for their actions and plead guilty in Municipal Court. The first time offenders, otherwise known as respondents, can then voluntarily opt to receive sanctions from a jury of their peers through Youth Court's judicial process. After fulfilling their sanctions, they will need to serve at least one term as a jury member in the case of another first time offender in order to complete the requirements of their Youth Court service.
The purpose behind this process, and its greatest strength, is that the juvenile offenders learn through their peers that their conduct wasn't acceptable or worth admiring. It is one thing to be scrutinized by an imposing judge who speaks with years of experience, but an entirely different thing for a respondent's peers to critique him/her on what they did wrong. Through interacting with our youth volunteers and sitting in judgment of other young offenders, respondents learn why their behavior was wrong and how the consequences they faced are part of a system of justice that strives to be fair and balanced.