Youth Court & Restorative Justice

Providing positive alternative to the juvenile justice system so youth can willingly take responsibility for their actions, make amends and build healthy and productive relationships. Working with law enforcement, schools, and neighborhood groups; youth in the program can contribute to a safer, more caring community.

The TimeBank's Youth Court Program works with high school aged youth who have made a mistake, and could potentially receive a ticket for the incident.  Instead of ticketing, the police officer can refer the youth to our youth court where they are judged by a jury of other students and given a sentence that is restorative and strength based and increases the youth's skills and support system.  When they complete their sentence successfully they avoid receiving their ticket and having something appear on their juvenile record

There are hundreds of school based youth courts across the nation. The connection to the TimeBank is what makes this program unique in two key ways:

  1. All of the jurors and schools are earning timebank hours for their service, so they are being rewarded for the work they do. Jurors who join the TimeBank as individual members earn hours for doing jury duty and hearing cases. They then can spend those hours on things they need/want from anyone else in the TimeBank. Jurors have spent their hours on things like gardening lessons, tutoring, music and art lessons, mentoring, etc. When a juror does not want to join as an individual member, they earn hours on behalf of their school (all participating high schools are organizational members). The schools can then use these hours to bring in additional resources. Schools have used their hours for things like anger management and mentoring for general population students, service learning trips to participating organizational members, staff workshops, yoga classes for students, etc. The connection to the TimeBank provides a ripple effect of helping and assistance through the exchange of time. It increases access to resources for all participants.
  2.  Through the connection to the TimeBank, jurors are able to be very creative and craft sentence components that are individually based on youth's strengths, interests, and needs. The Dane County TimeBank is one of the largest and most diverse timebank in the world. With over 2200 members, including more than 170 organizations, there are countless resources we can tap into for this program. By using TimeBank members with experience working with teens, we are able to provide all kinds of sentencing options including anger management, skill building and interest focused mentoring, tutoring, various discussion groups, job shadowing in the youth's field of interest, art/music lessons, classes, and much more. After the youth completes their sentence they have the option of joining the TimeBank and continuing anything they wish to. We have many youth that enjoy certain parts of their sentence including things like one on one sessions, art/music lessons, etc. By connecting with the TimeBank these things, which are not always accessible to youth, are available. These components promote longer term positive relationships with adults in their community.

The TimeBank Youth Court program is looking for people experience in working with youth for the following:

  • Mentors - General mentoring is needed as well as mentoring associated with specific interest areas including things like art, music, dance, sports, cooking, etc.

  • Nonviolent Conflict Resolution practitioners - If you have experience teaching nonviolent conflict resolution, we need you!  This can be done in one-on-one sessions or in small groups depending on your preference.

  • Mindfulness/Meditation training - many of our participating youth act impulsively and need skills to be able to think things through.  If you can help with this type of skill building, please get in touch.

  • Community service opportunities- We believe helping in the community is considered "community service."  This can occur at an organization or for an individual who needs some help.  We are looking to provide skill building experiences for these youth as well as opportunities for positive community engagement and relationship building.

Please contact Lorrie Hurckes, Co-Director/Youth Court Coordinator, at [email protected] or 608-819-0734. 

The TimeBank Youth Court sends kids in trouble to a jury of their peers rather than through the court system. A ticket or other formal consequence may be held in abeyance while the young person is given the chance to pursue this alternate course of action. The peer jury generally sentences youth to serve on the jury and to take part in activities that can help them succeed in the long run. These activities can include: writing letters of apology to victims or other restorative justice activities, life skills or mentoring programs, tutoring younger kids, and more. When youth's sentences are complete they have the option to continue their service, earning TimeBank Hours.

The goal is to keep young people engaged in programs that they enjoy and are benefiting from. They can build a stronger social network and build their skills, capacities, and work experience. The Dane County TimeBank's program is modeled on Washington DC's Time Dollar Youth Court, and now underway in all four of Madison's High Schools. We are always looking for great mentors, tutors, and all-around helpers to participate. To get involved, please call Lorrie at (608) 663-0400 or send an email.

See details of project in progress, plus shared files, at