"Teen Court got me more involved in my school and student life and made me
Vanderburgh County Teen Court is an intervention/diversion program in the Juvenile Justice System offering first-time offenders, ages 10-17, an opportunity to learn from their crime and make a positive lifestyle change. Cases in Teen Courts are generally juveniles with no prior arrest records and charged with less-serious law violations such as shoplifting, vandalism, or disorderly conduct. Typically, young offenders are offered Teen Court by law enforcement as a voluntary alternative to the traditional juvenile justice system. Juveniles charged with an offense can forgo the formal hearing and sentencing procedures of juvenile courts and participate in a sentencing forum made up of a jury of their peers. The Teen Court Program Coordinator serves as the offender’s probation officer after receiving the case referral from law enforcement.
Teen Court offers teens the opportunity to promote positive peer influence for the youth offenders. Teenagers in grades 9-12 have the opportunity to volunteer as:
This volunteer experience offers a unique opportunity for teens to serve and learn courtroom protocol, develop leadership and communication skills, and raise awareness of the issues their peers are facing. Any high school student in Southwestern Indiana interested in volunteering for the Vanderburgh County Teen Court can download the application and liability form and submit it to Laura Heister, Teen Court Program Coordinator.
Teen Court hearings occur nearly every Monday evening in the Courts Building located in the Civic Center Complex in downtown Evansville. Click here for a map. Intakes and probation meetings for juveniles are held in the Youth Resources office.
Since the first official hearing in 2005, Teen Court has involved over 945 youth volunteers who have served 4,475 hours of community service through Teen Court hearings. Additionally, more than 2,400 hours have been completed in local community service by the juvenile offenders as part of their sentencing.
Teen Court is also sponsored by: