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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 166154 Find in a Library
Title: Teen Court: Is It an Effective Alternative to Traditional Sanctions?
Journal: Journal for Juvenile Justice and Detention Services  Pages:14-23
Author(s): R Hissong
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 10
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After a brief review of the national development of teen court, this article presents the evaluation methodology and findings for a teen court in Arlington, Tex.
Abstract: Known usually as teen court or youth court, this approach to addressing minor juvenile offenses is new in two respects. First, teens perform all or nearly all of the court functions. Second, community service is emphasized as a sanction. The underlying hypothesis of the teen court is that young offenders respond more positively when judged by their peers and are required to serve the community constructively than when judged and sentenced in the traditional fashion. This hypothesis was tested for the teen court program in Arlington, Tex. The evaluation used cross tabulations and survival time analysis. Cross-tabs analysis was used to determine any general effects of the program, controlling for age, sex, and race. Survival analysis, a statistical method that accommodated the timing of recidivism, was used to evaluate teen court in terms of length of time until recidivism. Teen court participants were matched with a group that did not participate. A total of 196 subjects were matched on the basis of gender, age, and race; they had committed similar offenses. Together, the two samples produced a total of 392 observations. This limited study found teen court to be more effective than the traditional processing of juveniles for 16-year-old white boys. It was not as effective for girls in general. The findings for the 16 year-old white boys were important because that was the largest group of teen court clients. It was also found that the effectiveness of teen court waned after approximately 1 year. The follow-up procedure, however, was flawed because records only revealed recidivism within the city of Arlington. Notwithstanding these qualifications, the teen court program was found, for its core clientele, to be superior at deterring teens from further criminal activities. 8 tables, 10 figures, and 13 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile diversion programs
Index Term(s): Peer influences on behavior; Positive peer culture; Texas; Youth community involvement
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