YWCA of Southern Arizona has acquired the Pima County Teen Court from COPE Community Services.
Established in 1995 by the Pima Prevention Partnership for a broad-based community coalition as a salient response to the over-representation of minorities in the juvenile justice system, the Pima County Teen Court has since lowered the juvenile crime recidivism risk of nearly 8,000 Pima County adolescents and successfully reduced delinquency among juveniles who complete the program.
According to Teen Court’s Director Adelita Grijalva, “In this age of justice reform, Teen Court has long practiced a justice model which creates a true ‘jury of peers’ as youth volunteers and former defendants decide on constructive consequences for teens referred by Pima County Juvenile Court for real arrests.
Teen Court uses restorative justice, service learning, and positive youth development to prevent juvenile crime recidivism for youth ages 12-17 years old who have been arrested for misdemeanors and felony crimes, are approved for diversion, and have pled guilty to their crime.
The unique aspect of Teen Court is that trained youth volunteers serve as attorneys, bailiffs, clerks, and jurors. Positive peer influence and parental involvement drive the program.”
“We believe our mission is reflective of – and closely aligned to – the goals of Teen Court,” says Magdalena Verdugo, Executive Director of the YWCA Southern Arizona, and “We are proud to add Teen Court to our programming as a pivotal and continuing resource for juvenile justice and criminal justice reform in Pima County.”
“The YWCA will ensure that Teen Court continues its significant service to the youth and families of Tucson,” said Verdugo.
Claire E. Scheuren, Teen Court’s founder, former Executive Director of the Pima Prevention Partnership, agrees. “The Pima County Teen Court has very effectively realized its promised goal of reducing delinquency and fostering youth responsibility and will certainly continue to do so under the stewardship of the YWCA.”
The transfer from COPE Community Services, Inc. (owner of Pima Prevention Partnership since 2015) to the YWCA Southern Arizona became official on October 1, 2020.
Future plans for Teen Court include an online volunteer training for all youth ages 12-18 and a fundraiser to celebrate Teen Court’s 25 years of service to Pima County. More information can be found at www.pcteencourt.com and by contacting Adelita Grijalva or Magdalena Verdugo.
To learn more about YWCA Southern Arizona and the Teen Court program or to request an interview with Magdalena Verdugo or Adelita Grijalva, please contact TeenCourt@ywcatucson.org.
About YWCA Southern Arizona
YWCA Southern Arizona has been a leader in the fight for economic and social justice for over 100 years with a mission to “eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.” Each year, YWCA programs and services seek to empower women by advancing family well-being, financial stability, entrepreneurship, leadership, and job training. YWCA also works to engage voters and support grassroots activists working to create a local and state economy that works for everybody. For more information, call 520-884-7810 or visit ywcatucson.org.