Media advisory: First Lady Sandra Deal to visit Athens Peer Court

Athens, Ga. – On Jan. 8, Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal will observe a hearing at the Athens Peer Court-Athens’ newest innovation in juvenile justice. The Governor’s Office of Children and Families-Deal chairs its advisory board-has provided financial support to establish the Peer Court. The hearing will take place from 6-7 p.m. at the Athens-Clarke County Juvenile Court.

Athens Peer Court is a collaborative effort of the University of Georgia J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, Street Law at UGA’s School of Law, Athens-Clarke County Juvenile Court and the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Beginning in March 2012, first-time offenders could choose to have their case decided by trained youth volunteers. While peer court or teen court programs are common around the country, this is the first such program in Athens and only the third or fourth in Georgia.

Athens Peer Court provides a meaningful process for youth to accept responsibility and repair the harm caused by their crime and creates opportunities for youth to be connected to the community. In addition, youth volunteers develop leadership and career skills and serve as positive role models.

In the past year, 24 students from three Athens-area high schools were trained to serve as advocates, judges, bailiffs and jurors during a 14-hour program conducted by the UGA Fanning Institute in partnership with the Athens-Clarke County Juvenile Court. Street Law, a student organization at the UGA School of Law, also helped with training.

For more information, contact Emily Boness at 706/542-1108.

J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development
The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development is a public service and outreach unit of the University of Georgia. Dedicated to building a better Georgia, Fanning strengthens communities and organizations through leadership development, training and education.