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ERIC Number: ED553139
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Mar
Pages: 52
Abstractor: ERIC
Youth Courts and Their Educational Value: An Examination of Youth Courts in Chester, Pennsylvania
Norton, Michael H.; Gold, Eva; Peralta, Renata
Research For Action
The Stoneleigh Foundation of Philadelphia has historically focused its strategic investments on improving outcomes for youth involved or at risk of involvement in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Stoneleigh began its support for youth courts by providing a fellowship award from 2009 to 2011 to public interest lawyer Gregory Volz to continue his development of school-based youth courts in Chester city, and to promote a youth court movement in Pennsylvania. Recognizing how harmful and counterproductive zero tolerance policies are to youth, Stoneleigh viewed school-based youth courts as an effective and efficient intervention to prevent delinquency and to foster school engagement--perhaps even to improve educational outcomes. In the 2011-12 school year, the Stoneleigh Foundation commissioned Research for Action (RFA) to conduct a study of Chester Upland School District (CUSD) youth courts. This research is important as there is still little documentation of the effects of school-based youth courts. And while most of the research on youth courts has been concerned with outcomes for offenders, this study expands upon a handful of studies that explore the benefits of youth courts for the students who serve in court roles. This report also examines contextual supports and challenges to implementation of school-based youth courts. Finally, the authors suggest ways in which the challenges to implementation and research might be mitigated. This report is organized into four chapters. The first chapter discusses the research questions this report addresses and how RFA conducted the research. The second provides a description of the youth court model in CUSD, and examines the contextual factors that affected the development and running of the youth courts. Chapter 3 examines the participants and the influence that participation in youth court had on them. The final chapter provides lessons learned for implementation and research on youth courts in the future. Four appendixes include: (1) Methodology; (2) Descriptive Comparisons: Youth Court Participants v. Non-Participants; (3) Student Survey Results; and (4) The CUSD Youth Court Model, Referrals, Selection Process, Years of Operation, and Training Opportunities. A bibliography is included.
Research for Action. 3701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Tel: 215-823-2500; Fax: 215-823-2510; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Reports - Research-practitioner Partnerships
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Stoneleigh Foundation
Authoring Institution: Research for Action
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania