| Eastern Jackson County Youth Court|
EJC Youth Court Peer Diversion
The high rate of juveniles involved in criminal activities in Jackson County creates an increased risk factor associated with violent behavior and drug use for teens. The Eastern Jackson County Youth Court exists to hold juvenile offenders accountable for delinquent behavior; to provide positive peer-led restorative justice, which promotes leadership and positive youth behavior; to increase juvenile offenders' knowledge and enhance refusal skills to avoid criminal behavior, including violent acts and drug use; and to reduce repeated criminal behavior and involvement in the criminal justice system.
The Eastern Jackson County Youth Court (EJCYC) is a juvenile prevention peer court that provides immediate sanctions for juvenile offenders. The court meets the requirement of an evidence-based program as it is modeled on the Independence Youth Court, which has been recognized nationally by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) as a promising juvenile prevention program.
Established In 1989
The Eastern Jackson County Youth Court was established in 1989 and is the third oldest continuously operating peer court in Missouri. EJCYC is also one of the 25 oldest known continuously operating peer diversion courts in the United States. The National Association of Youth Courts and the Global Youth Justice organizations also recognize the value of Youth-Peer-Teen Courts as successful prevention diversion programs, promoting positive peer pressure and restorative justice as an alternative to the traditional juvenile justice system.
EJCYC peer adjudication hearings are conducted monthly by trained student volunteers (ages 13 to 18), with adult volunteers, and under the supervision of an adult Municipal Court Judge. The criminal cases for juveniles ages 7 to 18 are referred to EJCYC by eight law enforcement agencies: the Blue Springs Department of Public Safety, Buckner Police Department, Grain Valley Police Department, Greenwood Police Department, Lone Jack Police Department (a new member in July 2022), Oak Grove Police Department, Sugar Creek Police Department, and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office. The municipal-county ordinance violation cases include both status offenses (beyond parental control, curfew, runaway, and truancy) and delinquent offenses (assault, disorderly conduct, false information, harassment, possession of alcohol, drugs, paraphernalia, and tobacco-vape, possession of stolen property, resisting, stealing-shoplifting, traffic violations, trespassing, vandalism).
All court sanctions follow the National Youth Court Guidelines for restorative justice and prevention education. Victims of violent crimes are given the opportunity to present victim impact statements to the court prior to the adjudication of the juvenile offenders.
The sentences in Youth Court require the juvenile to participate in community service to show accountability for their actions. In addition, juveniles must attend educational classes, which provide knowledge and life skills to reduce the future potential for delinquent behaviors such as violent actions and drug use resulting in involvement in the criminal justice system.
The Youth Court follows the COMBAT prevention objectives to promote activities that will reduce the risk of juveniles' violent actions and drug use, which cause involvement in the criminal justice system.
All juveniles referred to EJCYC have exhibited risky and delinquent behaviors, which are the first steps in patterns of violence and drug use. The restorative justice peer intervention provided by Youth Court, along with the mandatory court sanctions, allow at-risk juveniles to participate in positive peer led relationships, learn positive social behaviors, and learn resistance skills to avoid violence and criminal activities in the future.
Click on the window icon (upper right corner) of the map below to expand. List of all program locations is included with expanded view of map. Locations are also listed on this page below the map.
Jackson County Sheriff's Office, 4001 NE Lakewood Ct, Lee's Summit, MO 64064
Grain Valley Municipal Court, 711 N Main St, Grain Valley, MO 64029
Grain Valley Community Center, 713 N Main St, Grain Valley, MO 64029
Independence Police Department, 223 N Memorial Dr, Independence, MO 64050
Blue Springs Department Of Public Safety, northwest, 1501 NW Jefferson St, Blue Springs, MO
Woods Chapel United Methodist Church, 4725 NE Lakewood Way, Lee's Summit, MO 64064
City of Independence Fire Department, 950 N Spring St, Independence, MO 64050