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INSPIRING PROJECTS BY
INSPIRED PEOPLE

Teen Court

Michael Mottahedeh

Calabasas, CA | 18

2016 AWARD RECIPIENT

I have learned that by helping others, we not only change their lives, but we change ours as well.

Teen Court is a community outreach program run by the Los Angeles Superior Court that works to reduce juvenile delinquency rates and recidivism. Through Teen Court, minors suspected of committing a crime are diverted from the traditional justice system and are given the opportunity to present their case to a jury of their peers. If found guilty, youth offenders can wipe their records clean by completing a sentence determined by students who volunteer as jurors, clerks and bailiffs. When Michael first joined the Taft Charter High School Teen Court chapter, fewer than 25 students attended the monthly sessions .Four years later, Michael is now President of Taft Teen Court and has grown attendance to an average of 140 students per session. He believes that this program has proved to be an effective solution to mass incarceration, boasting a 90% success rate at keeping minors out of the formal Juvenile Justice System.