Project Youth Court

Project Youth Court is a New Haven-based 501(c)(3) non-profit in Connecticut that currently manages the state’s only youth court. Youth Courts are like traditional courts in many ways, but they differ in two key aspects: they are staffed by high school volunteers and they follow the principles of balanced and restorative justice.

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Project Youth Court is on break for August 2016. Check back for our schedule for the new school year.

Youth Court engages a youth’s peers to repair the harm caused by a youth’s action and give them a second chance to build a stronger community.

Our Services

Positive Peer Engagement

Trained high school volunteers serve as advocates for the client and representatives for the community and victim. Most importantly, youth also serve on the jury and decide and provide justification for the client’s restorative contract. Once, a client finishes their hearing they return to serve on the jury for other hearings, giving them a chance to experience the process from the other side.

Restorative Justice Focus

All aspects of the Youth Court process follow a restorative justice philosophy, which focuses on both repairing the harm caused to the victim, community, and the offender. We also focus on positive youth development.

Develop Skills and Leadership

We train volunteers on restorative justice, legal procedure, public speaking, critical thinking, and leadership. After finishing their hearing, clients also receive training in these topics before serving on the jury.

Client Services

We work with our partners and other community advisors to develop and offer evidence-based services to our clients. We closely engage clients and their families to provide these services.

Special Opportunities

We offer additional opportunities for positive development to both our volunteers and clients. These range from college and job search counseling to having a private group lunch with a federal judge after observing one of his court cases.

Data Analysis

We offer data analysis on juvenile justice to Connecticut and New Haven agencies. Our analysis work is advised by professors who are experts in sociology and statistics.

How Can You Volunteer?

Jury

Members of the jury are responsible for listening to the case and then ultimately deciding its outcome.  Their jobs is to come up with a fair and creative outcome so that the offending young person has the opportunity to repair the harm he or she has caused to the victim and the community.

Representatives of the Client

The representatives for the client are youth attorneys who advocate for the client. Youth attorneys make opening statements, question the client, and make a closing statement. The representatives for the client pay particular attention to the harm the client has caused to themselves and how they can positively develop as a person.

Representatives of the Victim and the Community

The representatives for the victim and the community are youth attorneys who advocate for the victim and the community. Youth attorneys make opening statements, question the client, and make a closing statement. The representatives for the client pay particular attention to the harm the client has caused to the victim and the community.

Thank You to Our Partners

 
City of New Haven
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USDC
 
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