Teen Court Cases in South Dakota

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Why This Indicator Matters

Teen Court is a diversion program offered mainly to first time offenders ages 10-18, who are currently enrolled in an accredited school curriculum. Members of the Teen Court (e.g. attorneys, jury, bailiff and clerks) are student volunteers and returning defendants. They work to create a legal and binding sentence for the defendant based on the following principles of Restorative Justice:

  1. What harm has been done?
  2. Who has been harmed?
  3. What can be done to repair the harm?
Teen Court is a "sentencing" court and therefore does not establish guilt or innocence. The young offender must plead guilty in order to be referred to Teen Court by the State's Attorney. Upon successful completion of the sentence a letter is sent to the State's Attorney recommending dismissal of the case.

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Data Provided By

Definitions: The data include a list of charges referred to the teen court programs across the state by offense, the number of cases heard and the number of cases completed or returned. Note: a defendant may have had more than one charge so the number of charges referred does not equate to the number of cases heard if the defendant handled more than one charge in a case. Also, the number of returned and heard cases do not reflect cases that were in progress (heard but not completed) in a year so there is a discrepancy in the number of cases and dispositions. A returned case in a case that either did not complete, the defendant chose to quit the program, or the state’s attorney asked for the case back.

Data Source: South Dakota Teen Court Association

Footnotes: UPDATED - February 2019