Colorado Springs Teen Court is a unique and highly successful approach to juvenile crime. This independent non-profit program provides an alternative to the regular Municipal Court sentencing for first-time misdemeanor offenses committed by young people between 10 and 18 years of age. The purpose of Teen Court is to hold youth offenders accountable for their actions and to assist them in making better life choices through relevant sentencing options.
Although Teen Court works in tandem with the Municipal Court system, it remains a locally-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that relies on community support to sustain its programs. Recognizing that peer influence is one of the most powerful factors affecting youth behavior, Teen Court relies on a highly-trained corps of teen volunteers to review cases, deliver sentences, and ultimately steer juvenile defendants away from self-destructive decisions toward more productive life choices.
Without the support of its volunteers, Teen Court would be unable to function and would literally cease to exist. Currently, over 200 teenagers from all over Colorado Springs volunteer with Teen Court. In addition to the student volunteers, over 20 adults consistently serve as case managers for Peer Panels every month. Approximately 70 lawyers, judges, and magistrates from the 4th Judicial District and Municipal Court volunteer their time and expertise by participating in monthly Teen Court Trials. Over 30 members of the community who work in retail, loss prevention, management, private security, law enforcement, and the military participate in Teen Court's Community Impact Panels twice a month to discuss the impact that shoplifting has on their businesses, their employees, and the community as a whole. In FY 2011-2012, Teen Court volunteers donated a grand total of 6,730 hours to helping the at-risk teens of our community.