HCPS Teen Court Program

  • What is Teen Court?

    Teen Court is designed to interrupt patterns of criminal behavior by promoting positive feelings of self-esteem, motivation, self-improvement and developing a healthy attitude towards authority.  Teen Court is a judicial process where youth who commit non-violent acts are given an opportunity to make restitution or act in a restorative manner towards those who have been victimized by their criminal acts.

    Mission Statement

    The mission of Teen Court is to support first-time offenders’ personal, social, emotional and academic development by giving them a second chance. This is done through the process of having them admit to their guilt and take responsibility for their actions by repairing the harm that was done.


    • Reduce the number of repeat offenders returning to the court system.
    • Increase safety in the schools and community.
    • Increase awareness, decision-making and social skills of Teen Court Volunteers.
    • Increase the knowledge and leadership of juveniles and volunteers about the judicial system and their roles and responsibilities in a democratic society.
    • Increase the leadership and problem-solving skills of the Teen Court Volunteers

    Who Will Benefit from Teen Court?

    The defendant

    Teens are positively influenced and will benefit from Teen Court because their peers hold them accountable for their actions, while giving them an opportunity to repair the harm caused to victims, the community, and families. The success rate for Teen Court youthful offenders in completing activities (sentences) required by Teen Court Officials is over 80 percent and the rate of return to the juvenile justice system is reduced.


    Teen volunteers are selected from the high school and middle school. In order to participate, students must have an average of 2.0 and a clean discipline record for the year. The following positions are held by teen volunteers: jurors, defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and bailiffs. Teens will learn decision-making, problem-solving, and advocacy skills. They will learn how to assume more responsibilities and demonstrate more mature and responsible behaviors. Students will also acquire skills and the value of working together as a team, the laws and the judicial system. This is an excellent way for teens to investigate educational and vocational choices that include occupations in the legal professions.

    *Please note: This program is voluntary and confidential*

    Adult Volunteers

    If you are interested in becoming an adult volunteer for our Teen Court Program, please contact Jerome Solomon, the Coordinator, for further details.

    The Family and Community

    The family and the community are able to experience the joy of seeing youth offenders take ownership of their actions, repair the harm created in the community and share the responsibility for a safe and healthy community.

    How Teen Court Works

    Adult referrals are received by the Teen Court coordinator. If the case is appropriate for Teen Court, the coordinator will contact the teen offender. The offender, along with a parent or guardian, will be interviewed by the coordinator. If the offender is willing to admit responsibility for the offense, then he/she may be selected to participate. The offender will then be assigned a date to appear in Teen Court to plead guilty before an adult judge and a trained jury of his peers. The jury will then deliberate an appropriate sentence, including community service, letters of apology, drug assessments, conflict resolution classes, etc. All sentences, as monitored by the Teen Court coordinator, must be completed no later than 90 days. Successful completion results in NO CRIMINAL RECORD.

    Referral Sources

    • Juvenile Justice Counselors
    • Judicial Personnel
    • School Administrators
    • School Resource Officers
    • Law Enforcement
    • Community Agencies (e.g. Walmart)

    Eligibility Requirements

    An appropriate referral is for first-time offenders who meet all the following requirements:

    • Is between the ages of 12 and 18, and attends middle/high school full time in Hertford County Public Schools
    • Commits a qualifying misdemeanor, such as disorderly conduct or communicating threats.
    • Voluntarily admits guilt and accepts the Teen Court alternative.
    • Has a parent or guardian who agrees to support their child's participation in the program.


    "Teen Court teaches lessons that last a lifetime."