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Youth Peer Court

Harm is deeply personal and victim autonomy is critical.

CYFA’s Youth Peer Court (YPC) gives young people who cause harm an alternative to take actionable accountability through peer-driven dispositional opportunities that are based in restorative practice. 

 

YPCprovides a powerful opportunity for youth to take responsibility for harm. It equally empowers people who have been harmed. YPChonors victim autonomy – the person harmed is not required to participate in YPC.

 

YPCempowers young people through a service-learning opportunity that amplifies accountability, cultural competence, empathy, and equity. It provides participants an opportunity to transform the current juvenile legal system from retributive to restorative.  

 

In preparation for service in the role of YPCcounsel or fact-finder, YPCAmbassadors receive instruction on the legal system and its processes, are trained in the PEER curriculum, and are mentored in the art of advocacy. 


YPC does not operate within the formal juvenile court system; rather, it serves as a voluntary, community-based process that diverts youth from the legal system.

Who?

Available to young people ages 10 to 18 who have engaged in harmful behavior that would amount to a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony. 

What?

YPCis designed to divert youth from the formal juvenile legal system to an informal, peer-driven process that utilizes restorative practice to hold young people accountable for their actions and prevent future harmful acts.  YPC Ambassadors are trained in PEER’s comprehensive curriculum.

Why?

Provides for meaningful accountability, is trauma-focused, and provides for successful community reintegration.

How?

YPC operates like a traditional court; however, the advocacy (prosecutor and defense attorney) and fact-finding (judge/jury) roles are held by young people trained in CYFA’s comprehensive PEER curriculum and mentored by seasoned legal professionals. Participation is entirely voluntary. Admission of harm is required.

CYFA-YPCDiversion

YPC Is System Transformation

YPC directly aligns with diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, police practices initiatives, and criminal legal system reform efforts. CYFA’s community engagement, intake, evaluation, education/training, and restorative practices are centered in anti-racism. YPC was created to dismantle structural practices that result in systemic oppression and provide equitable opportunities to go beyond punishment to the heart of personal accountability, victim empowerment, and increased community safety:

YPC focuses on equitable solutions through community-based systems to divert young people from the legal system

YPC is an equitable, safe alternative for those impacted by harm

YPC shifts cultural and societal reliance on police resources

YPC is committed to racial and social justice, and it speaks authentically to communities impacted by systemic racism

YPC reimagines community policing beyond engagement to systemic reform

YPC engages in robust data collection and analysis not only to inform future programming but also to provide institutional and societal accountability

Please contact CYFA to learn more about YPC, restorative practice, and how you can get involved.