Friday | January 19, 2018
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Weinberg Foundation supports at-risk youth: $10,000 donated to Teen Court program

The YWCA of Hawaii Island Teen Court program recently received a $10,000 donation from the Harry &Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

“The Teen Court program was chosen by Weinberg Foundation employees for the restorative justice work we do for our at-risk teens on the island of Hawaii,” said YWCA Hawaii Island CEO Kathleen McGilvray. “The generous donation will go toward job readiness training, financial literacy and other basic life skill curriculum to help the teen participants prepare for their future.”

The YWCA Hawaii Island Teen Court is a diversion program for first-time juvenile offenders with misdemeanor charges. The Teen Court has resided at the YWCA of Hawaii Island for more than 30 years. The program services the entire island with court locations in Hilo, Waimea and Kailua-Kona.

The YWCA Hawaii Island Teen Court is a voluntary alternative to the Family Court for first-time offenders ages 10-17. It is a way for offenders to take responsibility, learn from their mistake and maintain a clean criminal record.

Youth who decide to have their case heard in Teen Court must admit their guilt to their crime and attend a court hearing where they will receive sentencing by a jury of their peers. Sentencing always includes community service and jury duty.

The jury also has the ability to add on additional sentencing which can include letters of apology, posters and essays. The court is made up of a judge, attorneys, clerk, bailiff and jury. Attorneys, clerks, bailiffs and sometimes even the judge positions are filled by teens.

“Nationally, the recidivism rate or reoffending rate for these types of offenses is 50 percent,” McGilvray said. “For the past decade, our recidivism rate has been between 4 and 8 percent.”

For more information about Teen Court or to volunteer, call Amanda Quinn at 969-7838.

 

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