The 2019 City of Elmira Youth Court New Member Induction Ceremony took place on Wednesday evening in the main Court Room on the 2nd floor of Elmira City Hall.
Twenty-six applicants attended six weeks of training, and successfully completed a Bar Examination, as well as positively promoted themselves through their Youth Court interview.
Youth Court is a diversion program started in 1997 that gives first-time offenders a chance to avoid entering the criminal justice system or Family Court. It holds these youthful offenders accountable for their actions as they are judged by their peers. It also gives members an opportunity to work in the criminal justice system firsthand, prosecuting, defending, and judging the actions of their peers.
The Elmira Youth Court program is one of the busiest in the State of New York. Handling more than 300 cases per year, it serves the City of Elmira and the Elmira City School District. Offenders are referred to the Youth Court by the school district for actions on school property, by a police officer, or by a probation officer.
The success of the Youth Court has been tremendous. Nearly 90% of the youths complete their sanctions within the specified time. Many offenders who are issued community service continue to serve their organization after completing the sanction. Others become interested in the criminal justice system and become members of the Youth Court Program.