Project Youth Court (PYC) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded in 2014 that manages a Youth Court in New Haven, Connecticut. We fully support a community-based balanced and restorative approach to juvenile justice and provide alternative, youth-centered restorative contracts to our client.
We believe that the traditional court system is often ill-equipped to manage young, first- or second-time misdemeanor offenses. Either these teenagers are treated too harshly and leave the system with a criminal record that makes their future development very difficult, or they are left out of the system and never learn to appreciate the harm their actions have caused their victims, their community, and themselves. Upon successful completion of the youth court program, participants avoid a criminal record.
The Youth Court is run as a normal courtroom, but with high school volunteers serving as attorneys, clerks, and jurors. They are judged by a true “jury of one’s peers.” An adult volunteer such as a judge or attorney serves as the hearing judge and oversees the court process. Volunteer staff from the community and from local colleges assist our case manager and management team. Because we employ a Balanced and Restorative approach to juvenile justice, all youth court participants have the chance to grow from the experience and the community is strengthened.