Reinvention or Replication of Juvenile Justice? Youth and Adult Perceptions of Teen Court

Andrew Rasmussen, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign

Teen court is one of the fastest-growing sentencing alternatives to juvenile court (Butts & Buck, 2000; National Youth Court Center, 2002). As the dismantling of juvenile court begun in the 1990s continues, teen court is likely to become increasingly critical to the U.S. juvenile justice system (Butts & Harrell, 1998). While teen court has received some scholarly attention, most of this has been limited to recidivism studies (Harrison, Maupin, & Mays, 2001; Hissong, 1991; Minor, Wells, Soderstrom, Bingham, & Williamson, 1999; Seyfrit, Reichel, & Stutts, 1987). Few studies have described the experiences of defendant youth as they are referred to and participate in the program. The author will present findings from current survey and interview research chronicling youths' journeys through an Illinois teen court (from referral to sentence completion), and will compare defendant youths' perceptions of the program to those held by adult juvenile justice workers. Offense severity, procedural justice, and sentence appropriateness will receive particular attention. Implications will be drawn for teen court outcome research.

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Updated 05/20/2006