Springville Youth Court is in now in session
The Springville Youth Court is now in session. Twenty-five students from Springville High School, Merit Academy, Springville Junior High School and Mapleton Junior High School have been trained and are now willing and eager to make a difference in other students’ lives.
Youth Court is a diversion court used to help correct a mistake a juvenile offender has made versus using traditional punitive punishments. When the Youth Court gathers and listens to a case, they are trying to find the “why” behind the crime that took place. After listening to the offender, the parents and even the victim of the crime, the Youth Court gathers to establish what is called a disposition or “sentence.”
The disposition’s goal is to accomplish at least one of three things; establish accountability, provide an opportunity for education or skill development for the offender, and/or help establish a community connection through service. Upon successful completion of the disposition, the arrest and criminal record of the juvenile remains clean.
One unique aspect of the Springville Youth Court are peer mentors. Upon entering the court, the juvenile offender and his family are met by a court member serving as their mentor and advocate. The mentor not only explains the court process and stays by their side for the evening, but they also make weekly contact with the student. The mentor’s goal is to encourage their peer to successfully complete the disposition and then return back to court and report on their experience, thus maintaining a clean record.
The Springville Youth Court is certified by the state to hear cases involving crimes that are Class B misdemeanors and under. The court may hear first-time alcohol and tobacco offenses as well as school-referred disciplinary cases. The Springville Youth Court is under the direction of the Prevention and Legal Department of Springville City.
The court received state certification to operate in July 2015. For more information, go to www.springville.org/youthcourt.
The Springville Youth Court is now operating. Pictured are, back row, from left: Danny Salazar, Olivia Davison, City Prosecutor Paul Dewitt and Karson Anderson. Front row, from left: Kaylee Middlebrook, Jasmin Valdivia, Jaden Christensen, Holly Christensen, Youth Court Director Shannon Acor and Claire Duncan.