Buffalo inaugurated a new Youth Court Monday, making it the first of the state's large cities to have such a program.
The Youth Court sets up a panel of teens who will hear cases involving other teens accused of minor violations, misdemeanors and anti-social behavior. Sentences will be imposed where appropriate.
Sentencing will stress rehabilitation and counseling and frequently will involve community service. Aimed at preventing delinquency, the Youth Court is intended to reform youngsters who show signs of criminal and anti-social behavior.
Serving as judges will be a group of Youth Court officers, ages 12 to 17, who have undergone a training program under the guidance of city, county and state prosecutors, attorneys, judges and police.
The Buffalo Youth Court is administered by the Division for Youth with $68,000 in federal funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the Department of Criminal Justice Services.