In its annual Blessed to Give program, the Belleville News-Democrat features a different charity every day from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.
Teen Court of St. Clair County
Teen Court is a restorative justice alternative to juvenile court. It is available in St. Clair County for first time non-violent offenders who are referred to Teen Court by the prosecutor’s office. More than 100 teens have graduated from the court since it was created in 2014.
Students from high schools in the county are chosen to serve as jurors and trained in the Teen Court process. The peer jury hears the case and determines a “sentence” that must be completed according to the three rules of restorative justice.
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Those rules are:
▪ How can you hold the offender accountable for his or her offense?
▪ How can you help the offender repair the harm to all the victims?
▪ What does the offender need to become a more productive member of the community?
Typical sentences include community service, letters of apology, peer jury duty and essays. If the teen completes the restorative justice sentence, a graduation ceremony is held and the criminal charge is never filed.
How to help
Adult volunteers are welcome to work with the Teen Court once a month.
Donations to the program can be made to Teen Court Foundation, 12 S. Second St., Belleville, IL 62220.
For information about volunteering or scheduling a speaker about Teen Court, email firstname.lastname@example.org.