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Youth court advocates from across the State today gathered at the headquarters of the New York State Bar Association in Albany for the first-ever statewide New York State Youth Court Conference. Hosted by The New York Bar Foundation, and co-sponsored by the Center for Court Innovation, the Association of New York State Youth Courts, and New York State Courts Access to Justice, the conference consisted of several workshops designed for participants to learn about ways to support, advance and strengthen New York's youth court system.

There are more than 80 youth courts operating throughout New York. Participating teens are trained to serve as jurors, judges and attorneys, and hear real-life cases of their peers involving offenses such as truancy, school fighting, vandalism, marijuana possession and shoplifting. Sanctions from the courts typically include community service, letters of apology, essays and counseling. The courts are overseen by volunteer judges, attorneys, educators, and law enforcement officials. The courts use positive peer pressure to ensure that young people who commit even minor offenses give back to the community and avoid further involvement in the justice system.


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