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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Teen Court

I'd like to talk about a cause that is very important to me in this article.

What is it?
Teen Court is a nationally recognized non-profit organization that works with troubled teens to rectify past crimes they've commited. The program has had lots of success with changing the lives of 1000's of kids every year. There are several branches of the program spread across the nation, each with the belief that second chances are real, and that everyone deserves to hit the "Try Again" button at least once.

How it Works
Teen Court partners with the judicial branch of government on several levels to allow any teen who admits guilt for their crimes and are remorseful for their actions to get a second chance. They come to teen court by a reccomendation by the local judge to have this once in a life opportunity. These teens are then brought to teen court to be represented by teen attorneys and jurors, who several of which were in similar situations and understand the potential for change. Their cases are explained and debated by the attorneys. Then the jurors review what was said by the defendant to come to a unanimous verdict. The teen already told that he is guilty of everything he is being charged for, so the part that is judged by the jurors is what his or her punishment will be. Each case is rated based on the severity of the crime from an A level which includes small crimes such as resisting arrest without violence to a D level that includes the most serious crimes like grand theft and consumption of illegal products. The higher the case is rated, the worse the defendant's sentence will be. The punishments are given in the form of community service hours and teen court jury duties. The jury duties allow them to judge people who committed similar crimes that they have, and know what is best for them.

What's the Point
The mission is to allow teens to rectify crimes they've committed and mistakes that they recognize they have made. This is very important because often times these crimes are not their own original thoughts, but are introduced to them by friends, family or just someone they read about. In many cases, they are just naive, and don't understand the consequences in the real world. One of the greatest parts about Teen Court is that these crimes are not recorded onto their permenant records that gives them a clean slate to start their life on the right foot.

What do we Do?
So how can we make a difference? Well, haven't you ever been tempted to take the easy way out an cheat or just give up. We all have. Staying good is tough, and for the most influencable people, its even harder when everyone around them is doing wrong and getting away with it. That's why people attending teen court need us or anyone that can set a good example. If they're in a better environment where everyone around them discourages giving in and going the easy way out, they will be encouraged to keep on going and not giving in to their addictions and past crimes. That's how we can help. We have to be there for them to show them why life is more than they can see, and show them how to truly live it to the pinnacle instead of continuing to hurt themselves. If you're willing, then help us help them by joining us in the fight against wrong.

Make a difference and call your local Teen Court to join and volunteer.

Vinay Konuru

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