The City of Elk City’s Teen Court Program is a way for youth who are first-time offenders to learn from their peers and clear their record. The Teen Court Program is based on the philosophy that because youth are sensitive to the opinions of their peers, they will accept a sentence of consequences from a Teen Jury and hopefully be less likely to become repeat violators in the future. A major goal of Teen Court is to interrupt unlawful activity before a pattern of lawbreaking develops. This is done by promoting feelings of self-worth, encouraging self-improvement and demonstrating a healthy attitude toward authority. In a positive manner, the Teen Court Jury challenges the respondents to perform at their highest levels and holds them accountable to themselves, their family and the community. Research indicates that a Teen Court Program is effective in keeping youth from re-offending and it also saves the community thousands of dollars.
How the Teen Court Works
- An admission of guilt and a referral from the Elk City Municipal Court Judge is necessary to participate in the Teen Court Program.
- The juvenile offender may be given a court date while at Municipal Court or he/she may need to contact the Teen Court Coordinator @ 580-225-6247 to obtain a court date.
- A parent must accompany the respondent to Teen Court. There is a $50 administration fee that must be paid when the respondent comes to court.
- The Teen Court hearing may take 15 – 30 minutes. There may be other cases ahead of you, so be prepared to wait if necessary.
- Teen Court sentences are logical, constructive and designed to fit the offense. Sentencing sanctions may include but are not limited to community service, attending therapeutic education classes, writing letters of apology, an appointment with a licensed counselor and serving on a Teen Jury.
- If the respondent completes his/her sentence by the date given, then the Municipal Court case is dismissed and the juvenile’s record is cleared. If the sentencing requirements are not met then the Teen Court case is referred back to the Municipal Court and further action is taken there.
Why should someone become a member of Teen Court?
- By joining Teen Court you are volunteering one evening per month to make a difference in the life of a young person who is in need of redirection. Most of the teen court respondents really do take to heart what the teen court members say and it can have a lasting effect.
- Colleges and universities recognize that an applicant with Teen Court membership on their resume is a person who cares about their community and is willing to volunteer their time and energy for a worthy cause. These are the types of students they want to fill their classrooms with.
- Teen Court is FUN! Though the cases can be serious and somber at times, teen court members leave the courtroom with a rewarding feeling knowing they helped others and contributed to their community. But not only that, they get the chance to hang out with their friends and peers for a couple of hours and eat some good food!
- To become a Teen Court member, you must be in the 9th grade or higher and willing to commit to attending the Teen Court one night per month. Teen court is held in the municipal courtroom located in the Elk City Police Department. Court begins @ 6:00 p.m. and depending on the caseload can run until 8:30 or 9:00 p.m.