According to literature collected by the National Association of Youth Courts, one of the earliest known Teen Court programs still in operation is Illinois' Naperville Youth Jury. Naperville's program started in June 1972. There are anecdotal reports of a Youth Court program that began in Horseheads, N.Y., in 1968.
Despite some conflicting accounts on the origin of Teen Courts, one thing is certain, awareness of this incredible program grew rapidly in the 1990's. In 1994, there were only 78 Youth Court programs in operation, according to the National Youth Court Database. By 2006, there were more than 1,127 Youth Court programs in operation throughout the United States. Currently, there are approximately 1,700 programs operating in four continents and 12 countries.
Teen Court programs are continuing to grow in Colorado. Castle Rock Teen Court is looking forward to future opportunities to partner with neighboring towns and municipalities in order to provide more opportunities to the youth in Colorado.
Castle Rock Teen Court beginnings
Town Council approved our Teen Court during the 2007 budget process. A coalition of parents, judges, attorneys, school administrators, police officers, teens and other interested community members developed the vision and strategic plan for our Teen Court.
Since its inception, Castle Rock Teen Court has continued to grow in numbers and success. We attribute this success to the outstanding support of our local government and our community's commitment to the progress of our youth.
From May 2007 to December 2012, Castle Rock Teen Court saw 330 cases. In 2017, Teen Court held 76 sentencing hearings that included 11 trials and 65 peer panels. Teen Court had a 91 percent success rate in 2017 with all of their respondents who completed their sentences and didn’t re-offend within six months.