The Wood Dale Police Peer Jury program is a collaborative project between the cities of Wood Dale and Bensenville. It is an alternative to the traditional court system for first-time youth offenders.
What is Peer Jury?
Peer Jury is a voluntary alternative to the traditional justice systems for youthful, first-time offenders. The youth, referred by an arresting officer and accompanied at all steps by one or both parents, must admit guilt and take responsibility for their actions as a condition of entering into the program.
They will then participate in a formal courtroom hearing set up to examine the circumstance of the case and to determine an appropriate sentence for the crime. Successful completion of the program keeps the juvenile out of the Juvenile Court system altogether, with no conviction on their record.
Goals and Objectives
The goal of Peer Jury is to intervene in early anti-social, delinquent, and criminal behavior, and to reduce the incidence and prevent the escalation of the negative behavior.
How does it work?
Prior to appearing before the Peer Jury, the defendant and a parent must agree to a statement of guilt. A date is set for the court appearance. When appearing before the jury, a police officer reads the charges. A panel of teen jurors discuss the charges with the offender. The panel then deliberates on an appropriate punishment, based on the severity of the charges and the attitude of the offender.
Completion of the sentence is monitored by an adult facilitator of the program. At the "discharge hearing", the jury reviews the case and discusses the experience with the offender. Many times, ex-offenders who successfully complete their assignments continue to volunteer in public service and are recommended as possible peer jurors.
Application for Peer Jury
The Wood Dale and Bensenville police departments are now recruiting for peer jurors. Potential Jurors must meet these requirements:
- Between the ages of 13 and 17
- Possess an interest in helping your peers
- Committed to the peer jury program (have a willingness to work with police, other teens and the community).
- Of good character
- Live with the communities of Wood Dale or Bensenville
- Consent of parent or guardian
Applications are available at the Wood Dale Police Department or by following the link below to a printable PDF. When submitting an application, a signed parental/guardian consent form must be attached. After receiving the application, you will be called shortly thereafter as to when your interview will be scheduled. The interview will take approximately one half hour.
For more information on the Wood Dale Peer Jury contact Detective Amy McCollum at 630-787-3834.