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IBA: Indianapolis Bar Foundation Grant Supports Expansion Of In-School Teen Court

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By Andrew L. Campbell, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
 

andrew campbell Campbell

Last year, a teenager was arrested with paint on his hands that matched the color of freshly painted graffiti on a nearby church. As the teen made his way through the traditional juvenile justice system, his family explained that they were having difficulty communicating with the teen and that there had been fights and bouts of depression. The statistics showed that the likelihood of recidivism was nearly 40 percent.

Fortunately, the teen was diverted from the traditional juvenile justice system to Reach for Youth’s Teen Court, an alternative program where the teen’s peers served as legal counsel and members of the jury. A local attorney presided over a hearing, during which the teen offered his story, and his family and members of the church that he vandalized also spoke. After some pointed questioning, the jury began to understand, better than most adults, the teen’s motivations.

He was nevertheless held to account: 24 hours of community service, 16 hours of restitution toward removing the paint, a written apology to the church, and service to the church’s youth program. The teen was also ordered to attend a workshop on conflict management and serve three sessions iba pullouton a Teen Court jury. Since the hearing, there have been no further incidents and, though his jury appointed service is done, he continues to volunteer with the church youth program. As a participant in Teen Court, the statistics say that the likelihood of recidivism was cut by nearly 25 percent.

As the recipient of the 2012 Impact Fund grant of $35,000 from the Indianapolis Bar Foundation, Reach for Youth expanded its successful Teen Court program to include an in-school Teen Court project aimed at halting disruptive behavior before it escalates to criminal activity requiring expulsion. Decatur Middle School, Warren Central High School, and Stony Brook Middle School were among the first participants.

“In a very short amount of time, these schools have witnessed a true culture shift,” reports Reach for Youth’s President and CEO, Michelle Study-Campbell. “By holding students accountable to a jury of their true peers, not simply adult disciplinarians, and imposing constructive rather than simply punitive sentences, the result has been a marked shift in the attitudes of student-participants toward their school community.”

As a result, teachers have reported decreased classroom interruptions, improved behavior, and rising grade points. The students, both participants and offenders, are learning about public service and giving back to their fellow students.

The Foundation’s support has allowed Teen Court to support a part-time social worker to coordinate the in-school project. As a result, Teen Court will continue in Decatur and Warren Townships, and will expand to Irvington Prep Charter School, Bell East Middle School, and Lawrence Township in the coming months. Teen Court is always recruiting attorney-volunteers to serve as judges, and more information can be found online at www.yourteencourt.org.

Through April 1, 2013, the Indianapolis Bar Foundation will be accepting grant applications for its 2013 Impact Fund Grant of $35,000. The Impact Grant will be awarded to a non-profit organization, like Reach for Youth, that seeks to advance the administration of justice and an understanding of the law through philanthropy, education, and service. More information about the Indianapolis Bar Foundation and its grant making can be found online at www.indybar.org/about/bar-foundation/.•

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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

  2. I was wondering about the 6 million put aside for common attorney fees?does that mean that if you are a plaintiff your attorney fees will be partially covered?

  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

  4. Being dedicated to a genre keeps it alive until the masses catch up to the "trend." Kent and Bill are keepin' it LIVE!! Thank you gentlemen..you know your JAZZ.

  5. Hemp has very little THC which is needed to kill cancer cells! Growing cannabis plants for THC inside a hemp field will not work...where is the fear? From not really knowing about Cannabis and Hemp or just not listening to the people teaching you through testimonies and packets of info over the last few years! Wake up Hoosier law makers!

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