Athens, Ga. – The Athens-Clarke County Commission will recognize Athens Peer Court during the regular commission meeting, April 1 at 7 p.m. in the City Hall Commission Chamber. Representatives from Athens Peer Court-including juvenile court personnel, University of Georgia faculty and students, and approximately 10 youth volunteers-will be present to receive the honor.
Athens Peer Court-a program developed by University of Georgia public service and outreach and local juvenile justice units-provides a process for first-time youth offenders to accept responsibility and repair the harm caused by their crime and connects them to the community. In addition, area high school and middle school students gain leadership and career skills as they are trained to serve as advocates, judges, bailiffs, and jurors. In 2013, Athens Peer Court had 40 active youth volunteers from four Athens-area high schools and four middle schools, and held hearings for 129 cases, up from 52 in 2012.
The Georgia Council of Court Administrators awarded the 2013 Program of the Year Award to the Athens Peer Court at their annual conference luncheon in Savannah, Ga., in February. Earlier in 2013, Athens Peer Court received the Liberty Bell Award from the Western Circuit Bar Association and was honored by a visit from Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal.
Athens Peer Court is a collaborative effort of the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, Street Law at UGA’s School of Law, the Athens-Clarke County Juvenile Court, and the Department of Juvenile Justice, and is funded by the Governor’s Office for Children and Families, through the Federal Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Program.
The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development is a public service and outreach unit at the University of Georgia. Dedicated to building a better Georgia, Fanning strengthens communities and organizations through leadership development, training and education.