Springville Youth Court is in now in ses­sion

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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.

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