We're on a mission to keep the Teen Court program alive at Nicasa. Funding from the State of Illinois has been totally cut for this program, but we can't bear the thought of letting youth miss out on an opportunity for a fresh start. Nicasa's Teen Court program has been running since 1996 and we want to see it continue well into the future. We're looking at lots of ways to fundraise to keep this program going, and this is just one of them.
Nicasa’s Teen Court is an alternative to the traditional justice system for first time youth offenders. Instead of being sent to court for their offense, youth are referred to Teen Court where their case is reviewed and they are sentenced by a jury of their peers. Based on the concept of balanced and restorative justice, Teen Court seeks to help youth learn to take responsibility for their actions, repair harm that was done in the community, and learn the skills to help them make better choices in the future. Youth who successfully complete the program avoid having a court record and are more likely to keep it that way.
Teen Court has an amazing success rate! Youth who complete the program are twice as likely to make better choices and keep a clear record. Just 20% of youth who completed the program reoffended within a 3-year period, as opposed to 42% of those who did not complete the program successfully.
Nicasa is the largest operator of youth courts in Illinois. Nicasa operates Teen Courts in the Round Lake Area/Grayslake, Lake Villa/Lindenhurst/Antioch, Wauconda/Island Lake, Gurnee/Warren Township, Waukegan, Zion/Beach Park/Winthrop Harbor, and Lake Forest/Lake Bluff.
Not only does Teen Court help the youth offenders, but it gives high school students an opportunity to volunteer and make a positive impact on their peers and their community.