Youth Courts are a good investment and save the taxpayers money. The cost of this program is minimal and relies mainly on volunteers. Juveniles who enter the traditional court system can cost an average of $407.58 per person per day when the most expensive option is used according to a report by the Justice Policy Institute. Aside from the direct costs of incarcerating juveniles taxpayers pay in the form of lost future earnings, lost tax revenue and the other ripple effect of juvenile detention. Furthermore, young people who end up in detention are less likely to graduate high school by as much as 26%.
The Blount County Youth Court works! Since its creation the recidivism rate in Blount County for teenagers who participate in this program is less than 1%. Young people who participate in traditional juvenile court reoffend at the rate of 22% to 26%.
"Participating in Youth Court allowed me to witness firsthand the power of restorative justice and develop an understanding and appreciation for it. I am proud that I have been able to help others get back on the right track because of my time in the Blount County Youth Court."
Evan Hamilton, Graduating Senior Juror
"Doing Justice asks much more of us than punishment. I volunteered with the Youth Court because it strengthens young people in our community, and the community as a whole, to do right by each other."
Andrew Irvine, Former Board Member
"Youth Court is an incredible program not only for the students who are getting a second chance, but for the students who act as jurors. The public speaking and problem solving skills that you gain are easily transferable to school work, college and on."
Katie Cohen, Former Juror