Teen Courts: A Focus on Research

Jeffrey A. Butts and Janeen Buck (2000). Teen Courts: A Focus on Research. (Juvenile Justice Bulletin.) Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, US Department of Justice.

As part of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) Evaluation of Teen Courts Project, The Urban Institute recently conducted a national survey of teen courts and youth courts. With assistance from the National Youth Court Center (NYCC), which is housed at the American Probation and Parole Association and supported by funds from OJJDP, project researchers obtained addresses, telephone numbers, and personal contacts for all U.S. teen courts believed to exist as of the end of 1998, and they mailed questionnaires to nearly 500 programs. A handful of these programs had gone out of business by the time researchers tried to contact them. Of the remaining programs, 335 (more than 70 percent) completed and returned the survey. The responses documented the range of teen court programs used by jurisdictions across the country, the characteristics of their clients, the sanctions they imposed, the courtroom models they used, the extent of community support they received, and the challenges they faced.