Community Court and Teen Court Juvenile Diversion Programs
The Santa Clarita Community Court (CC) (2006) and Teen Court (TC) (1995) Juvenile Diversion programs were implemented as an alternative to the juvenile justice system to help first-time non-violent offenders learn from their mistakes, and to ensure that youth perform community services and pay their restitution here in Santa Clarita where their crime was committed. The program administers traffic cases (speeding and moving violations) and two levels of criminal cases:
- Low-grade misdemeanor juvenile criminal cases including curfew, vandalism, possession of alcohol, tobacco/tobacco paraphernalia, and minor drugs offenses, trespassing, and petty theft under $50.
- Severe misdemeanor juvenile criminal cases and some minor felony criminal juvenile cases including petty theft over $50, burglary, brandishing a weapon, possession of fireworks, possession of marijuana on school grounds, public intoxication, grand theft, possession of deadly weapon and battery on school grounds, under the influence of controlled substance, and vandalism.
How are the courts different?
Community Court participants are sentenced by a Judge. Teen Court participants are sentenced by a panel of their peers from local high schools however, the Judge will monitor the sentences, but will not interfere unless the sentence is extremely unreasonable or impractical.
The Community Court and Teen Court Juvenile Diversion Programs holds the juvenile offender accountable for their actions and includes an educational component which helps them understand the impact of their choices. Youth are provided a “second chance” to head in a new direction with no juvenile conviction on their record if they successfully complete the program. The community benefits by a reduction in recidivism, enhancement of public safety, and development of good citizens. The community is also enhanced by the beautification projects the youth complete as part of their community service.