A jury of their peers

June 22, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Greenpoint Youth Court graduation marks another year of adjudicating youngster’s crimes


JAVA STREET — Greenpoint Youth Court celebrated its sixth graduation and induction ceremony last week at the Polish & Slavic Center in Greenpoint.  


A project of the Center for Court Innovation, the Greenpoint Youth Court recruits and trains local teenagers to serve as judges, jurors and advocates, hearing real cases involving low-level offenses, such as larceny, truancy or fare evasion, committed by their peers. 

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Youth Court respondents are assigned sanctions by the court, including community service, skill-building workshops and letters of apology, designed to help them repair any harm they have caused the community and learn to make better decisions going forward.


The Greenpoint Youth Court hears approximately 200 cases a year. Over 90 percent of the young people who appear before the court successfully complete the program by accomplishing all of their assigned sanctions. Since January, program participants have, for example, completed over 500 hours of community service with local organizations and the parks department. 


At the June 21 ceremony, New York City Department of Probation Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi, a Greenpoint native, gave the keynote address and recognized the accomplishments of the youth court members during their term of service. 


In particular, the Greenpoint Youth Court celebrated seven high school seniors who will be graduating from their respective high schools. The program also inducted its newest members, who successfully completed the requisite 35-hour training course. 


Referrals come from the New York City Department of Probation, the New York City Police Department’s 90th and 94th Precincts, the New York City Law Department, Automotive High School, The Green School, Frances Perkins Academy and the Puerto Rican Family Institute.


The Greenpoint Youth Court thanked its supporters and active partners, including Council members Stephen Levin and Diana Reyna.

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