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In response to tragedies across the country, the former Spartanburg County Clerk of Court, Hope Blackley, and The Spartanburg County Foundation partnered together to launch what was formerly known as the Spartanburg County Criminal Justice Youth Institute. It has since been renamed The Institute for Youth Justice, and is officially a registered trademarked program.

The Institute for Youth Justice provides leadership training, education, and an opportunity to connect with other youth who are interested in making a positive difference in their communities. Spartanburg County 11th & 12th graders are introduced to the criminal justice system to help them gain a deeper understanding of the inner-workings of the system, eliminate misconceptions, build long-lasting partnerships between youth and criminal justice officials, and empower Spartanburg County youth to become positive contributors and leaders in our community. Throughout this leadership training, participants meet once a month for four months to increase their knowledge of the criminal justice system and gain a better understanding of the role they can play in partnering together with criminal justice officials, as well as the consequences of poor decision-making.

Topic sessions include: arrest, booking, hearings, pre-trial intervention, sentencing, probation, family court, juvenile justice, drug abuse, and legal aid. Participants will also gain exposure to state and federal delegation.

The Institute for Youth Justice begins in January with an opening retreat that provides an opportunity for participants to connect with one another in an informal setting and hear from various law enforcement agents within the county. Sessions are held January – April, one weekday per month, from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm. A graduation ceremony is held in May. The sessions will be held at various locations throughout Spartanburg County, such as the Spartanburg County Courthouse, Spartanburg County Jail, Spartanburg City Hall, and Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, providing students an opportunity to tour these facilities first-hand.

For more information or for an application, please email!

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