Teens and Teen Courts

Teens and Teen Courts

Communities around the state are establishing Teen Court programs to use positive peer pressure to reduce teenage crimes. A group of young people and adult experts discusses the growing Teen Court movement and how it is working in Wisconsin.

Premiere date: May 21, 2008


About the Program

Communities around the state are establishing Teen Court programs to use positive peer pressure to reduce teenage crimes. On the next edition of Teen Connection, a group of young people and adult experts will discuss the growing Teen Court movement and how it is working in Wisconsin.

This episode marks Teen Connection's 20th Anniversary. Since 1988, Teen Connectionhas given voice to teenagers from around the state and has provided a peer-based televised service that has discussed important and timely issues concerning middle school- and high school-age students. This episode's panel of teens and the live call-in phone bank includes student volunteers in the Brown County Teen Court program.

In addition to the featured teens, this Teen Connection panel also will include Terri Delaruelle, program manager for Teen Court of Brown County. Together, the panel will discuss their experiences working within the Teen Court system and how they have seen the program help young people in the community.

The Teen Court program, based in communities throughout the state, works to reduce repeat criminal youth activity. In Brown County, Teen Court is managed by Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin and works in cooperation with the district attorney’s office. First-time offenders between 12 and 16 years old who admit guilt to certain ordinance violations like retail theft, disorderly conduct or minor property damage can voluntarily enter the Teen Court system, where they receive a sentence from a teen peer jury. 

The Teen Court system works closely with the defendant and their parents or guardians throughout the process and also maintains strict confidentiality for participants.

Sentences imposed in Teen Court cause defendants to explore how their actions affect themselves and their communities. These sentences often include jury duty, community service and apology letters. Upon successful completion of the sentence, charges are erased from the defendant’s record.

The show also will feature video footage of a Teen Court volunteer training session where high school student volunteers work with area lawyers and program administrators to learn about the program and the roles they will play.

Wisconsin Court System

National Association of Youth Courts

Toll-free phone service is provided by Nsight Long Distance.

Host Kathryn Bracho appears courtesy of WBAY-TV/Green Bay.