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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. Bob Leonard killed two people named Jennifer and Dion Longworth. There were no Smiths involved.

  2. Being on this journey from the beginning has convinced me the justice system really doesn't care about the welfare of the child. The trial court judge knew the child belonged with the mother. The father having total disregard for the rules of the court. Not only did this cost the mother and child valuable time together but thousands in legal fees. When the child was with the father the mother paid her child support. When the child was finally with the right parent somehow the father got away without having to pay one penny of child support. He had to be in control. Since he withheld all information regarding the child's welfare he put her in harms way. Mother took the child to the doctor when she got sick and was totally embarrassed she knew nothing regarding the medical information especially the allergies, The mother texted the father (from the doctors office) and he replied call his attorney. To me this doesn't seem like a concerned father. Seeing the child upset when she had to go back to the father. What upset me the most was finding out the child sleeps with him. Sometimes in the nude. Maybe I don't understand all the rules of the law but I thought this was also morally wrong. A concerned parent would allow the child to finish the school year. Say goodbye to her friends. It saddens me to know the child will not have contact with the sisters, aunts, uncles and the 87 year old grandfather. He didn't allow it before. Only the mother is allowed to talk to the child. I don't think now will be any different. I hope the decision the courts made would've been the same one if this was a member of their family. Someday this child will end up in therapy if allowed to remain with the father.

  3. Ok attorney Straw ... if that be a good idea ... And I am not saying it is ... but if it were ... would that be ripe prior to her suffering an embarrassing remand from the Seventh? Seems more than a tad premature here soldier. One putting on the armor should not boast liked one taking it off.

  4. The judge thinks that she is so cute to deny jurisdiction, but without jurisdiction, she loses her immunity. She did not give me any due process hearing or any discovery, like the Middlesex case provided for that lawyer. Because she has refused to protect me and she has no immunity because she rejected jurisdiction, I am now suing her in her district.

  5. Sam Bradbury was never a resident of Lafayette he lived in rural Tippecanoe County, Thats an error.

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