Source: (2008) Journal of Experimental Criminology. 4:137-163.

Teen Court (TC) is a juvenile diversion program designed to prevent the formal processing of first-time juvenile offenders within the juvenile justice system. TC instead utilizes informal processing and sanctions in order to prevent future offending. Despite its widespread popularity throughout the United States of America, little rigorous research has been conducted on the effectiveness of the TC model for reducing recidivism. Using an experimental design, this study examined the effectiveness of TC in reducing recidivism and improving the attitudes and opinions of juvenile offenders in comparison with a control group of youth who were formally processed. Self-reported delinquency was higher for those youth who participated in TC. TC youth were also found to have significantly lower scores on a scale of belief in conventional rules than had youth who were processed in the Department of Juveniles Services. Implications of these findings are discussed. (author's abstract)