In 2001, Kitsap County Youth Court (KCYC) was developed
and implemented. KCYC does not determine guilt or innocence of the
youthful offenders. It is an arena where a youth’s peers perform the
duties of various positions in a court-like setting to impose fair and
just sanctions for the crime(s) committed. Students serve as the bailiff,
clerk, jurors, prosecuting and defense advocates and ultimately the judge.
A core team was formed consisting of a judge, court commissioner,
department head, chief prosecutor, probation staff, and other
stakeholders. Bremerton and South Kitsap High Schools were identified as
pilot schools. Attorneys in Kitsap County were recruited and trained to
provide mentorship to the youth. In November 2001, participants attended
an all day training encompassing issues regarding confidentiality,
formality, the various tasks and a mock trial. The first KCYC hearing took
place on December 5, 2001.
KCYC’s goal is to reduce recidivism among youthful
offenders in Kitsap County, increase youths’ awareness of the laws and
consequences for criminal activities and teach students the many facets of
law and justice career opportunities.