Eureka, CA - Humboldt County Teen Court has expanded their partnership with Eureka High School in a preventative effort to reduce citations and steer teens toward a positive path. Previously, only youth facing expulsion were recommended to Teen Court, where they are given a sentence by their teen peers allowing this restorative practice to disrupt the "school-to-prison" pipeline.
Rob Standish, Assistant Principal at EHS, says, "I am very thankful we have finally been able to tap into your fantastic program. It is already making a significant difference in our student behavior program at EHS."
Though only two months into this new process, Teen Court has seen an sizable increase in cases they are managing. To handle the added case load, the program has been using a Jury Panel process in addition to one with teen attorneys and judge. This allows for a quicker turnaround, while still being able to be sentenced by one's peers.
Humboldt County Teen Court still manages a handful of cases every month in their traditional manner, holding proceedings at the Humboldt County Courthouse under the mentorship of Judge Wilson. "Being able to have an alternative to traditional punitive sanctions, or avoid the start of a criminal record, makes a big difference for teens. It means that they have a pathway to re-integrate into the community in a positive way, and avoid penalties that keep them disengaged," says Sacha Marini, the program's Director.
Teen Court is an innovative diversion program through Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods for first-time juvenile offenders. It is a real court of law that is entirely operated by youth volunteers (teen jurors, teen attorneys, clerk, and judge), with an adult mentor judge and attorneys providing guidance. The teen jury focuses on coming up with a restorative sentence that will help the offender to repair harms and learn from their mistake. These courts are designed to empower youth, promote accountability, provide access to youth resources, and model peer leadership.
Teen Court also operates a Brief Intervention program to help teen abusing alcohol or drugs. More information can be found online at
or by calling (707) 444-0153.
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