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Letter: Anchorage Youth Court provides community with citizens, leaders

Anchorage Youth Court (AYC) is a juvenile justice alternative that saves the city of Anchorage money, lowers recidivism, and creates civic leaders in our community; and the Assembly wants to defund it. AYC uses a unique model that sentences juvenile offenders by their peers. The judges, lawyers, and bailiff are all 18 or younger. This approach uses positive peer pressure on misdemeanor and minor offenders; an approach that lowers recidivism. It is cheaper to send a juvenile offender to AYC than traditional court, and the juvenile is less likely to reoffend. To put money into AYC saves the city of Anchorage money now and later. 

Further, AYC is a great venue for youth in Anchorage to become civic leaders. I was an AYC member from 1997-2003. During that time, I learned how to speak confidently, organize my thoughts into productive arguments, and was given an unparalleled insight into the law. I wasn’t the only one.

Funding AYC saves Anchorage money and it prepares our next generation of leaders. To defund AYC would be a crime.

—  Jason Tashea