Youth are the most valued resource in our community. Our desire is to provide opportunities for youth to become productive citizens. To that end, the Antelope Valley Community Youth Court is a proactive prevention and intervention activity. The court provides an alternative response for first-time and repeat, non-violent offenders whom have not yet participated in the youth court program. Trained volunteers determine appropriate consequences for offenders. The court helps youth establish accountability for their actions and provides educational services for offenders. With this said, youth volunteers can promote long-term mutual respect, leading to enhanced public safety.
1. Promote life skills for self-control/lawful behavior.
II: Foster community citizenship and ownership.
III: Provide immediate attention and response, linking the offense to a logical consequence.
Click here for an Antelope Valley Community Youth Court Brochure and contact information.
What is the Antelope Valley Community Youth Court?
The AVCYC is a diversion program designed to keep youth out of the criminal justice system, and to provide skills and interventions that will assist youth in making better decisions. It is organized and administered by the City of Lancaster.
Where and when are the court sessions conducted?
All court sessions are conducted in the City Council Chambers of Lancaster City Hall, 44933 Fern Ave, Lancaster, CA 93534 at 3:30pm on the designated court date.
Where do cases come from?
Referrals are made to AVCYC by law enforcement, local schools, or parents. Youth aged 12 - 17 who have accepted responsibility for their actions will experience a disposition trial judged by their peers who will determine an appropriate sentence.
Who presides over the court?
Judges are crucial to the AVCYC program. They include local judges and attorneys that volunteer their time to the program. They are dedicated to helping local youth stay out of the criminal justice system.
Who is elegible to be a juror?
The jury consists of local youth 12 - 17 years of age that are members of local leadership organizations, civic-minded teens looking to serve their community, and past youth court participants. All jury members are required to attend a training session that prepares them for their participation.
What types of youth are eligible to participate in the court?
To be eligible for the AVCYC program, certain criteria must be met.
* Aged 12 - 17
* Accepts Responsibility for Their Offense
* Non-Violent Crime
* Misdemeanor or Status Offense
Not all cases will be eligible for the program. Final approval will be determined on a case-by-case basis by an AVCYC case worker during an eligibility interview.
What does a sentence include?
The jury ultimately decides on the youth’s sentence. Sentencing may include classes, counseling, community service, letter of apology, and/or writing an essay, and many are sentenced to serve on a future AVCYC jury.
What are the benefits of participating in this program instead of going to traditional court?
Youth that complete the program with AVCYC will stay out of the criminal justice system, and will also have no permanent record for that offence.
Citizenship skills will be learned throughout the entire court process and youth will encounter many opportunities for personal growth and development.
Are court sessions opened to the general public?
No. Persons admitted to youth court sessions are restricted to defendants, jurors, City staff, law enforcement personnel, defendant/juror family members/guardians, and persons/agencies invited by youth court staff to assist with specific cases.