During the week of September 29, 2015 the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) officially launched the Youth Mock Courts Program in the Bahamas under the Resistance and Prevention Program (RAPP). This initiative seeks to educate at-risk youth about the importance of the judicial system using case studies a mock court simulations among the participants.
Reaching more than 100 students from the C.C. Sweeting Senior High School, History and Geography teacher Loukeisha Cartwright successfully led the program by portraying real-life judicial scenarios to two high school classes. Based in the New Providence cities of Bain Town and Grants Town, C.C. Sweeting has a diverse population of about 800 students who mainly come from low-income families.
PADF first conducted a seven-week introductory lesson for students about the relevance of the judicial system to community development and crime prevention in the Bahamas. We partnered with the Eugene Dupuch Law School, provided a law coach who handed out teaching materials and explained case studies to the class.
After finishing the classroom lessons, we held the first youth mock court trial in the College of the Bahamas on November 13, 2015. Approximately 160 people attended including students from C.C. Sweeting and teachers and parents from three neighboring primary schools. Participating student actors performed the case in front of an audience and Constance Delancy, a sitting Magistrate with the Juvenile Courts in the Bahamas.
The Youth Mock Courts Program proved to be an integral part of our social crime prevention approach to inform and enhance the capacity of our youth. The participating students developed an interest in law enforcement and legal proceedings, and many of them were eager to ask questions and share their opinions with us:
“I believe, I can make a career out of this as a Bailiff, I think I am pretty good at it”.
–-Brittney, student actor
“I learned that I can be very convincing and although I was considering being a doctor, after doing this program, I believe that now I want to be a lawyer.”
--Kyle, student actor
“This was a great program and I believe that it should be in a lot more of our schools.”