The Union County Teen Court was founded in October 2000. Teen Court, also called youth court and peer court, is an alternative approach to juvenile justice in which juvenile offenders are sentenced by a jury of their peers. This program has been incredibly successful in dealing with youth offenders in the state of Oregon and across the nation.
Shadowed by more serious offenses, misdemeanors and minor offenses often receive little or no consequences. Teen court can serve to hold youth accountable for their actions and intervene before they move on to more serious crimes. Nearly 95% of youth that complete teen court programs do not re-offend within a one year period.
Teen court is staffed by teenagers, adult volunteers, and previous defendants. The volunteer court members are students twelve years old or older from middle and high schools throughout the county. They act as jurors, clerks, bailiffs, and attorneys. The presiding judge, a volunteer lawyer or judge from the community, is the only adult to participate in the hearing. The Teen Court Coordinator, an adult employee of the Union County Juvenile Department, oversees scheduling, staffing, and compliance issues.
Odin Miller, Teen Court Coordinator