According to literature collected by the National Association of Youth Courts, one of the earliest known Youth Court/Teen Court programs still in operation is the Naperville Youth Jury in Naperville, Ill. Naperville's program started in June 1972. There are anecdotal reports of a Youth Court program that began in Horseheads, N.Y., in 1968.
Despite some conflicting accounts on the origin of Teen Courts, one thing is certain, awareness of this incredible program grew rapidly in the 1990's. In 1994, there were only 78 Youth Court programs in operation, according to the National Youth Court Database. By 2006, there were more than 1,127 Youth Court programs in operation throughout the United States. Currently, there are approximately 1,255 programs operating nationwide.
Teen Court is continuing to grow in Colorado, and Castle Rock Teen Court is looking forward to future opportunities to partner with neighboring towns and municipalities in order to provide more opportunities to the youth in Colorado.
Castle Rock Teen Court beginnings
Town Council approved our Teen Court during the 2007 budget process. A coalition of parents, judges, attorneys, school administrators, police officers, teens and other interested community members developed the vision and strategic plan for our Teen Court.
Since its inception, Castle Rock Teen Court has continued to grow in numbers and success. We attribute this success to the outstanding support of our local government and our community's commitment to the progress of our youth.
From May 2007 to December 2012, Castle Rock Teen Court saw 330 cases. In 2014, Teen Court held 81 sentencing hearings that included 10 trials and 71 peer panels. Teen Court had a 98 percent success rate with all of their respondents who completed their sentences on time and didn’t re-offend within six months.