Young Adult Community Conferencing (YACC) is a restorative justice program for young adult summary offenders aged 18-24 who commit alcohol-related summary offenses in the borough of West Chester in Chester County.
YACC is an opportunity for young adult offenders to repair relationships with West Chester borough residents who have been impacted by illegal and inappropriate behavior.
YACC is also an opportunity for West Chester borough residents to volunteer on a community conference panel.
A community conference is a formal meeting between young adult offenders and volunteer community representatives led by a trained facilitator. Within a safe environment, students and community representatives discuss how each student’s specific actions impact the West Chester borough and community at the large.
If a specific individual, family or business was harmed, the victim is invited to attend, along with a support representative for the offender, such as a parent or friend.
As young adults and volunteer community representatives talk together, community representatives are invited to share personal stories and perspectives on how alcohol-related offenses—like public drunkeness, noise violations, or drunk driving—impact local neighborhoods, families, and the student him or herself. Then, offenders and community representatives work together to define a series of tasks that:
- hold the young adult accountable for his or her behavior
- restore justice to the community, and
- motivate the offender to make positive behavioral changes to prevent future dangerous drinking choices
Each task must be meaningful to the young adult. Sample tasks include:
- completing community service hours
- writing an essay or reflection, or
- supporting other youth
After a pre-determined amount of time, young adult offenders and community representatives meet again to review progress. If a young adult successfully completes his or her tasks, the disciplinary probation and restrictions may be lifted.