Teen Court youth, adult volunteers sought in Harford

January 15, 2013

The Harford County Teen Court is looking for adult and teen volunteers to participate in the youth diversion program run in cooperation with the local courts, social services and community service agencies, police and the county school system.

The Harford County Teen Court was piloted in the spring of 2011as a diversion program to provide 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.

The Teen Court is a partnership with the Harford County Department of Community Services Local Management Board, Office of Drug Control Policy, Department of Juvenile Services, State's Attorney Office, Sheriff's Office, and Harford County Public Schools.

The Harford County Teen Court program follows a restorative justice model in which it is determined what is best for the respondent, the victim, and the community at large, according to a media release from the program.

Harford County District Court Judge Susan Hazlett presides over the court. The jury is comprised of high school students from around the county.

For the 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 finding for the offending youth, such as writing an apology letter, performing community service hours, attending educational programs or serving on the teen jury in the future.

Teen Court Training for youth and adult volunteers is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 5, 4:30-7:30 p.m., at the Harford County District Court, 2 South Bond Street in Bel Air.

To register for the Teen Court Training session on Feb. 5, or to learn more about serving as a volunteer juror or court clerk, please contact the Office of Drug Control Policy at 410-638-3333 or teencourt@harfordcountymd.gov.

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