The Parker Teen Court was formed in January 2005. The Municipal Court was searching for a unique way to deal with youth offenders in Parker. The program was met with tremendous response from the teens in the community who wanted to volunteer. The roster immediately became a large list of more than 60 teens. More than 400 teens have volunteered in Teen Court since 2005, with nearly 50 cases handled annually.
Parker Teen Court volunteers also participate in activities outside of the court, including fun movie nights, banquets, hiking trips and reaching out to the community through community service. Since 2005, Teen Court volunteers have provided more than 10,000 hours of community service. The feedback we receive from parents and defendants has been very positive. Since the beginning of the program, some individuals who went through Teen Court as defendants have returned to become active members.
General History of Teen Courts
According to literature collected by the National Association of Youth Courts, one of the earliest known youth court / teen court programs still in operation is the Naperville Youth Jury in Naperville, IL. Naperville's program started in June 1972. There are anecdotal reports of a youth court program that began operating in Horseheads, N.Y., in 1968.
Awareness of teen courts grew rapidly in the 1990s. In 1994, there were only 78 youth court programs in operation, according to the National Youth Court Database. By 2006, there were more than 1,127 youth court programs in operation throughout the United States. Currently, there are approximately 1,255 programs operating nationwide. Of those, 15 are located in Colorado.