YANKTON - The Boys and Girls Clubs of South Dakota has brought its teen court program to Yankton County.

The Yankton Press and Dakotan reports that the first-time offender diversion program allows juvenile offenders to admit guilt in cases to have their juvenile record cleared. The goal is to lower reoffender rates among juveniles.

Teen court coordinator Kelsie Thoreson says teens play the roles of the jury and attorneys, and a local adult attorney serves as the judge for the court.

The court is only for sentencing, meaning teens can only be a part of the program if they admit guilt to their offenses. Teenage defendants who successfully complete the program have no juvenile record of the offense.

There are currently 12 teen court programs across South Dakota.

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