The Harford County Department of Community Services Local Management Board has awarded $12,000 to the Harford County Sheriff's Office to conduct a teen court.
Teen Court, piloted in the spring, provides first-time, non-violent youth offenders with a second chance. Offenders agree to participate in the Teen Court program, and if successful, avoid becoming involved in the juvenile justice system.
Harford County District Court Judge Susan Hazlett presides over the court with a jury comprised of teens from throughout the county. For teen jurors, this is a volunteer experience and a chance to see firsthand how the criminal justice system works. With the help of adult volunteers, the jury develops a penalty for the offending youth, such as writing an apology letter, performing community service hours or serving on the teen jury in the future.
Youth interested in serving as a volunteer juror or as a court clerk should contact the Office of Drug Control Policy, 410-638-3333 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Harford County Teen Court has been developed in partnership with the Department of Juvenile Services, State's Attorney Office, Harford County Sheriff's Office, Harford County Public Schools and the Office of Drug Control Policy. The program follows a restorative justice model which determines what is best for the respondent, the victim and the community at large.