By Tina Rosenberg
On Friday, Fixes examined the Youth Court of the District of Columbia, a forum where first-time nonviolent teenage offenders are judged by others who have been in the same situation. The D.C. Youth Court is one of the largest of some 1,000 youth courts around the country. These courts are designed to help minor offenders avoid a criminal record and stay out of juvenile justice — traditionally an efficient production line for criminality.
While most commenters praised youth courts for taking a humane approach, reader Beliavsky from Boston (7) wrote, “Letting young criminals (excuse me, ‘troubled youths’) be judged by other young criminals does not seem right to me. There should be a real, non-criminal, adult, judge.”