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What is the Peer Jury Program?
It is a program built on the principles of Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ). It is designed to provide a meaningful and remedial method of dealing with selected juvenile (under age 17) offenders without reference to the Juvenile Court. It does not determine guilt or innocence. A case is only sent to the Peer Jury for hearing by a jury of seven juveniles and an adult moderator when (1) the offender admits having committed the offense; (2) the responsible police officer determines that such a disposition is appropriate; and (3) the offender and his/her parent or guardian consent in writing to such a disposition and sign a Waiver of Liability and Confidentiality.
When these conditions are met, the offender and his/her parent or guardians are scheduled for a hearing before a Peer Jury panel at a definite date and time. At the hearing, a police officer reads the charges, states the possible sentence if the offense was committed by an adult, and summarizes the facts of the case. The members of the panel then question the offender. The offender and his/her parent or guardians then withdraw while the jury deliberates and fixes appropriate consequences. The sentence always includes some form of individualized community service.
Peer Jury Mission:
The Township of Downers Grove Peer Jury seeks to provide a means for a youth offender the opportunity to account for his/her behavior to a group of his/her peers and repair the harm caused to the victim and the community. Peer Jurors will attempt to understand why the offender committed the offense and then assign consequences to help him/her be accountable for his/her actions. When assigning consequences, the three goals of BARJ that will be addressed when sentencing the offender are: Social Competency, Accountability, and Community Safety. In order to accomplish the above mission, peer jurors must have a good understanding of the facts of each case. To achieve this, jurors may ask questions of the offender, his/her parents, and the juvenile officer during the hearing of a case. Jurors ask and appropriate questions so they may get a clear understanding of the facts. A peer juror approaches each case seriously and in a professional manner. Prior to serving, a juror receives training and from the Townships’ Director of Youth Services who administers the program as well as the Peer Jury Coordinators. They also participate in a mock jury prior to being sworn in. The role of jurors is to question the offender and determine an appropriate “sentence.” Written outlines of procedures and suggested questions are provided in a training manual. Each peer juror must make a commitment to attend meetings and hearings on a regular basis and to respect the confidentiality associated with the program. Jurors disqualify themselves from the jury if they know the offender. They are required to report any attempts to intimidate or influence them.
• Students who wish to apply obtain applications through their school, from current jurors and from the township office.
• An applicant must either live or go to school in the township. The Director of Youth Services for the township must approve exceptions.
• An applicant must be in high school or entering 9th grade in the fall upon application to an August training and not had any police contact within the past twelve months.
• Peer Jurors recommended by a teacher from their school or a current juror complete an application, which is reviewed by the Director of Youth Services. Jurors who wish to apply but do not have the recommendation from a teacher or current juror, must have two recommendation forms completed with their application. Upon acceptance, jurors attend a mandatory one-day training and participate in a mock trial before being sworn in by a local judge.
• Peer jurors are expected to attend hearings once per month at their assigned peer jury site. Peer Jurors must be at the peer jury site by 6:00 p.m. The peer jury sessions begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. and are usually over by 9:30 p.m.
• Former offenders who have received a recommendation from the community service site they performed at may apply if they have remained out of trouble for at least six months after their release. Qualifying offenders are reviewed once a year by the juvenile officers from the seven referring police agencies to assure that they have had no police contact. If the officers clear them, they are contacted and offered the opportunity to apply and interview. They may participate in either the summer or winter training.
Hearing Locations & Times
• The Peer Jury meets the 2nd Monday of each month in Westmont Village Hall;
• The 3rd Monday of the month in Downers Grove Village Hall;
• The 4th Monday of every month in the Westmont Police Department.
What are the typical offenses referred to a peer jury?
Assault, Battery, Burglary, Criminal Damage to Property, Criminal Trespass to Property, Curfew (Third time offense only) Disorderly Conduct, Possession of Alcohol, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Tobacco, (Third time offense only) Truancy, (Third time offense only) Underage consumption of alcohol, Vandalism. This is a sample and is not all-inclusive or a required list. Each administrator for a peer jury, along with input from local law enforcement personnel decide which offenses will be eligible for referral to peer jury.
For information on how to be an adult or youth volunteer or if you want to know more about the peer jury program, please contact:
Division of Human Services
Phone: (630) 719-6670
4340 Prince Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Main (630) 719-6600
Mon - Fri, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Highway Department Hours
Effective: May 1 - October 31
Mon - Fri, 7 am - 3 pm
Mon - Fri, 9 am - 4 pm
Freedom of Information Request
Financial Audit 2013
Annual Treasurer's Report 2013
Township Budget 13-14
Highway Budget 13-14
Board Meeting Schedule 2013
Holiday Schedule 2013