The Peer Jury Program is a positive, court diversion process that is for the non-violent, first time juvenile offender. The jury is made of youths that have volunteered, and have been selected, following interviews and a screening process. They are then trained to be jurors. An adult moderator and coordinator are also a part of the jury.
If a youth is arrested, their case is reviewed by a juvenile officer. The juvenile officer determines if the case is suitable for peer jury. Besides the youth officer’s considerations several other conditions have to be met in order for a youth to be referred to peer jury. Those conditions include the offender admitting guilt in the case, and the offender and parents agreeing to participate in peer jury.
The youth offender then appears before the peer jury, the case is summarized and the jury questions the offender regarding the crime, including their intent, and how their actions affect others. The youth is then sentenced to typically community service, writing an apology letter or report on crime, or attending educational workshops or counseling.
The Peer Jury Program brings together youths, including the volunteers and the offenders in a positive way that fosters education in responsibility, accountability, feelings towards others and the criminal justice system. If you are interested in participating as a juror in Peer Jury, contact Officer Ferraro at the police department main number.