U.S. Attorney's Office Hosts Peer Court Training for High School Students from Chemawa Indian School
PORTLAND, Ore. – On September 26, 2016, Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, welcomed 45 high school students from the Chemawa Indian School’s Youth Peer Court Program to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland for a day of interactive training on the principles of restorative justice. The Chemawa Youth Peer Court is a program designed to divert young, first-time offenders away from formal juvenile court proceedings into an informal peer-based process in a culturally appropriate setting.
The program is designed to incorporate components of restorative justice to hold youth accountable for their offenses and prevent future delinquency. The juvenile offenders assume responsibility for their behavior and accept the consequences of their actions through community service work, a punishment sanctioned by a peer court jury, and by serving on a future peer court jury themselves.
U.S. Attorney Williams said that “in addition to giving the students a second chance, and a meaningful opportunity to make reparation, the Chemawa Youth Peer Court promotes self-esteem, motivation for self-improvement, and respect for the opinions of others. It also provides valuable challenges and opportunities for the peer court jurors to experience self-government and responsible citizenship.”
The distinguished faculty for the training included Warm Springs Tribal Judge Lisa Lomas, Tribal Prosecutor Nancy Seyler, and Tribal Juvenile Prosecutor Cecelia Collins; Marion County Deputy District Attorney David Wilson and Deputy Sheriff David White; Mr. Don Kelley, a Silverton-based attorney who brings more than a decade of volunteer experience with the Silverton Peer Court; Lewis and Clark Law School students Dayna Jones, Nic Sanchez, and Katie Gargan from the Native American Law Student Association; and the Chemawa Indian School’s Peer Court Coordinator Cynthia Schaeffer and Vice Principals Ryan Cox and Joel Chavez. Assistant United States Attorneys Suzanne Hayden, Jennifer Martin, and Paul Maloney organized the training and also served as faculty.
The Chemawa Indian School in Keizer, Oregon, is one of four off-reservation boarding schools for American Indians and Alaska Natives in the nation. Over 300 students from 19 states and more than 13 federally-recognized tribes attend the Chemawa Indian School. For more information about the school, please visit www.chemawa.bie.edu.