Community Panels For Youth: Panel Dramatization

In 1997, two long-time child law attorneys on the faculty of Northwestern University School of Law Children and Family Justice Center, developed Community Panels for Youth. It was the first juvenile court diversion program in Chicago grounded in the principles and practices of Restorative Justice. This video, filmed in 2002 offers a glimpse of how Restorative Justice can be put into practice by presenting a staged panel. For more information on CPY please visit

00:04Copy video clip URL Title card: “Community Panels for Youth, A Community Alternative to Juvenile Court Part II” Cheryl Graves, CPY director, introduces the video with the preface that it will be a staged panel hearing conducted by trained community volunteers. The purpose of a hearing like this is to allow the victims and youth to have a dialogue. 

00:47Copy video clip URL Simulation of a panel hearing. The Community Panels for Youth Community Panels for Youth (CPY) coordinator provides an intake form to the panelists hearing the case. The intake form includes the youth’s school status, living situation, and social activities. 

02:30Copy video clip URL Staged panel begins with opening statements. The youth who committed a crime comes in along with the victim. The parent/guardian of the young person is also there. The chairperson sits down and is in charge of running the meeting. Everyone introduces themselves and their role. The chairperson explains the panel process. 

06:54Copy video clip URL The youth tells the panel what happened.

09:54Copy video clip URL The victim describes the impact this event has had on him.

10:24Copy video clip URL The youth has the opportunity to talk with the victim and apologize. 

12:34Copy video clip URL The victim can make suggestions for how to hold the youth accountable. The panel note these suggestions in order to build a contract between the youth and victim. 

16:48Copy video clip URL The victim is excused from the room

17:00Copy video clip URL Step two: the interview where the panel talks with the youth. The interview is a n opportunity for panel members to get to know the youth and better understand what may have led to the crime. 

27:18Copy video clip URL Step three: developing the contract. The panel determines community service that’s appropriate to the crime and helps develop the youth’s skills and relationships. The panel also evaluates how the youth can repay the victim directly through service.

33:23Copy video clip URL Basic contract requirements are presented on screen.

35:25Copy video clip URL The contract terms are reviewed with the youth and their family. 

42:42Copy video clip URL End, screen goes black.




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