LegalWays: Juvenile Sentencing

Lesson Duration

By Jennifer Bloom and Sally Revak

The disposition of a case (sentencing) is the focus of this lesson from the LegalWays Curriculum. It includes a description of the process and the options open to the court.  In the “You Decide” activity, students serve as the judge and determine what the sentence will be in a hypothetical case.  They are asked to provide the reasons for their decision. The final activity has students participating in a “Youth Forum” to consider the effectiveness of the juvenile justice system.  Suggested guiding questions are included. This forum provides an excellent opportunity to invite local juvenile justice stakeholders including prosecution and defense lawyers, judges, corrections employees, treatment professionals, victims, families, law enforcement, etc. The questions provided are adaptations of questions considered by policy makers and the  Minnesota Supreme Court.


  • Understand the purpose of the juvenile delinquency system
  • Become familiar with the juvenile delinquency procedure
  • Understand the reasoning that underlies judges’ decisions

Time to Complete

Flexible. One class period with additional time for Youth Forum

Materials Needed


See Juvenile Delinquency Teaching Guide


LegalWays curriculum was funded by Grant No. 95-JS-FX-0300 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, Department of Justice.


Types of especially helpful comments: How you modified this for your class, How you would improve this lesson.

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