At Tennessee Youth Courts, we plant, nurture, and grow opportunities for teens to change their lives and the lives of others.
Tennessee Youth Courts is a safe and supportive environment in which teenagers are educated and equipped with the knowledge necessary to handle incidents of rule-breaking involving their peers. We are one of a few statewide organizations that offer age-appropriate access to justice. Based on the principles of restorative justice, we are leaders in helping youth learn from their mistakes and achieve their full potential.
TYC supports Youth (or Teen) Court Programs throughout Tennessee with funding and training for adult and youth volunteers, educational events, technical assistance, site visits and data collection. Youth court programs operate in schools and in conjunction with juvenile courts. The program serves over 2000 students per year.
Teenagers who volunteer to sit on the Youth Court decide the sentence or consequence for those teens who agree to abide by their decisions. Teen volunteers follow restorative justice principles, which value the perspectives and contributions of victims and offenders. The program results in peer bonding, increased social skills, positive reinforcement, and reduced likelihood of reoffending.
Tennessee Youth Court, Inc. has been identified as one of five promising programs operating in our state by Vanderbilt University’s Center for Safe and Supportive Schools (S3). Youth/teen court programs are evidence-based and considered model programs of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.