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Youth Court: Newport News program, the first of its kind in Virginia, gives young offenders a chance to correct their mistakes

Newport News Youth Court.jpg
Posted at 10:29 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 22:29:15-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Newport News is starting a new program to help youth offenders get a chance to correct their mistakes without entering into the system.

It's called the Youth Justice Diversion Program, or Youth Court.

Young people who have committed minor offenses - like some forms of vandalism, abusive language and some driving offenses - have the opportunity to go before a jury of their peers to take ownership for their behavior.

The peer jury will then decide on punishments like community service, written apologies, classes or restitution if damages were done.

The director tells News 3 it's all in an effort to correct bad behavior without putting a mark on their record.

"This is not a bad kid - this is just a kid… this is a kid who made a mistake, and they're making good on that bad behavior to come back to square one,” said Jered Grimes, director of the city’s Department of Juvenile Services.

Youth Court is set to begin in June. This is the first program of its kind in the state.

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