What is Teen Court?
Teen Court is an alternative diversion program where minors and parent consent to have the “Teen Court” adjudicate the allegations brought forth against the minor teen. The aim of “Teen Court” is to use peer pressure to deter juveniles who have not yet become entrenched in the juvenile criminal justice system.
The Los Angeles County “Teen Court” is a unique collaborative effort between public and private entities. The County of Los Angeles Probation Department provides the cases and monitors the adjudication processes. The LA County Sheriff’s Department provides a deputy to act as a bailiff and to instill a sense of security for the staff and volunteers. The City of Lancaster’s Public Safety, and Parks, Recreation and Arts Departments provides Park Rangers and Staff for support, coordination and to solicit and coordinate the efforts of a peer jury together with a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge and the Supervising Probation Officer. Through this coordination a balance is maintained between law enforcement, judicial and volunteer entities.
The local schools are an integral part of the program. City representatives visit high school campuses to publicize the “Teen Court” program and to solicit volunteers to serve on the peer jury. Referrals come from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and the L.A. County Probation Department. The investigating detective in collaboration with the Supervising Probation Officer decides whether the offender is qualified for “Teen Court.” The offenders are between 12 and 17 and should have no prior felony arrests, reside locally and have no violent gang affiliation that would be a threat to anyone associated with “Teen Court.”
The underlying intent of the “Teen Court” program is to use peer pressure in a positive way to foster law-abiding behavior. It’s all about choices!
How do I sign up?
If you are interested in serving as a juror for Teen Court contact the City of Lancaster Public Safety Office at (661) 723-6199.