Recorded Wednesday, November 7, 2012
When youth end up in court, they're often confused and uncertain about the purpose of the proceedings, and what's expected of them when they leave. Why? Because much of the language used there by professionals goes right over their heads.
Now, you can change that, explains Rosa Peralta in this recorded webinar, as she introduces a new guide from Models for Change, called the "Washington Judicial Colloquies Project: a Guide for Improving Communication and Understanding in Court." The document provides guidance on how to consistently use developmentally-appropriate language in court that youth can understand.
Ms. Peralta, a research associate at TeamChild, NJJN's member in Washington state, helped lead the development of the guide as part of its participation with the Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (JIDAN). Working with a team of experts, including the National Juvenile Defender Center and a group of teens (many with experience in juvenile court), TeamChild produced a guide that offers draft bench "colloquies" for two critical hearings—(1) an accused juvenile’s first appearance, at which rights and conditions of release are explained, and (2) disposition hearings, at which the consequences of conviction and conditions of probation are explained.
When the team evaluated the effectiveness of the colloquies, they found that while youth ordinarily understood only 1/3 of the conditions of release and probation (ordered only minutes before), they understood 90% of them if the colloquies were employed.