Youth Court - Merced Superior Court

Juvenile Delinquency icon Project Name: Youth Court
Court: Merced Superior Court
   Documents: Youth Court Hearing Process

Overview/Program Description:

The Merced Superior Court, Merced Probation Department, and UC Merced worked together to implement the Youth Court program. The Merced Youth Court is spearheaded by UC Merced students. The Youth Court program provides a way of restoring justice after a juvenile has committed a misdemeanor, minor offense, or truancy. This early intervention program offers an alternative to going through the traditional juvenile justice system.

The Merced Superior Court, Probation Department, and UC Merced collaborated to deter delinquent juveniles from committing misdemeanor/minor offenses and escalating to felony acts. The court and UC Merced students addressed the problem with juveniles not understanding the importance of law and order. The Youth Court program educates juveniles on law and order and guides the juveniles to accept responsibility for their own actions.

Program Benefits/Savings:

The Youth Court program redirects lives of troubled youth and helps foster their development into becoming positive members of the community. The juveniles receive community service hours, substance abuse/psych counseling, and jail tours. The UC Merced students’ roles are to act as jury, prosecution, defense, and support staff. The UC Merced students receive community service hours from the University for their participation. In addition, the students make a positive impact in the lives of Merced County youth. They gain first hand legal experience in the court justice system that will aid them in their future careers.

Other Courts Using Similar Programs:

Though courts in California and other states have developed similar Youth Court programs, the partnership with the UC Merced is unique to the Merced Superior Court.