A Philadelphia City Councilman is proposing a peer mediation system to keep youth offenders out of jail.
Councilman Curtis Jones says “Youth Court” as it might be called would use peers to evaluate non-felony offenses in order to keep teens out of the regular court system — even the family court system.
“It gives a peer on peer review of the problems that are unique to young people and they understand it better than we could ever,” said Jones. “The other thing that it does that it grows citizens that when they mature and become adults, they understand the concept of justice, understand the concept of civic responsibility.”
Jones says he thinks Youth Court could be created without adding to the judicial system’s total budget.
“What we can do is try to figure what it costs us now and through reverse engineering to reduce that cost through these type of mediations,” said Jones.
The plan is in its infancy now. The details would be sketched out at a hearing that will be scheduled on the issue.