Salt Lake Peer Court is a program of Utah Law Related Education, a 501(c)(3) organization. Salt Lake Peer Court is a court diversion program certified by the Utah Youth Court Association under the Utah Youth Court Diversion Act.
Youth who have committed status offenses or class B or class C misdemeanors can be referred to Peer Court rather than sent through the traditional juvenile court system. Salt Lake Peer Court is a free and voluntary program. Youth who are successful in Peer Court do not receive a criminal record.
A youth referred to Salt Lake Peer Court (along with a parent/guardian) sits before a panel of high school volunteers who are trained to hear cases. The panel asks questions of the youth and parent/guardian to get a better understanding of the offense/issue as well as other concerns within the household and at school. The panel creates a disposition contract with conditions the youth and parent/guardian must fulfill. These conditions can include community service for the youth, educational opportunities, vocational training, social activities, individual/family counseling, and/or other conditions as the panel sees fit. The referred youth is paired with a peer mentor who follows-up with them by phone or in person between court hearings. An adult advisor is assigned to the case and follows-up with the parent/guardian to check on progress and answer questions. Return hearings are held to report on disposition contract progress and make changes if needed. Referred youth who are successful in Peer Court graduate. Those who are unsuccessful are closed non-compliant and the referral is sent back to the source (usually the school) for further processing.