Source: (2002) Chicago: Constitutional Rights Foundation

As pointed out by Charles Degelman, youth courts are among the fastest growing crime intervention programs in the United States. Youth courts divert minor offenders from overloaded juvenile courts. They hold young offenders accountable for their actions, educate them about the impact of their actions, teach them about the legal system, and provide opportunities for young offenders to develop and practice life and leadership skills. In youth courts, community service is the most popular disposition for young offenders. With all of this in mind, Degelman maintains that youth court administrators, in planning and implementing community service options, can realize the principles of restorative justice at least in part through lessons already learned in America’s schools, where community service has a long and significant place in education. Making a connection between classroom-based study and service to the community is often called service learning. In this manual for youth court administrators, Degelman uses the goals and objectives of balanced and restorative justice as the bridge to apply school-based service-learning methods to community-service dispositions in youth courts.