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Effective and Promising Practices in Transitional Planning and School Reentry

NCJ Number
Journal of Correctional Education Volume: 65 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2014 Pages: 84-96
Paul J. Hirschfield
Date Published
May 2014
13 pages
Based on a literature review, this study proposes effective and promising practices in providing continuity in education services for ex-inmates after their release.
Despite the importance of postrelease involvement in education services, studies suggest that the majority of youth do not make successful transitions from education services provided in custodial facilities to participation in community-based education services after release. Recognizing this, juvenile justice agencies are increasingly developing partnerships with local school districts in order to coordinate services for and share information about their respective clients. Efforts to standardize and streamline the process of transferring academic records between correctional and community schools have also expanded. Government and private organizations have engaged in promoting model approaches for facilitating detained and incarcerated offenders having a successful return to appropriate school settings after their release from custody. A promising practice is for correctional facilities to conduct assessments of student skill levels and goals. Each student in confinement should receive curriculum and transitional service that facilitate realistic postrelease educational goals, such as returning to a community high school to pursue graduation or pursuing vocational training or a General Education Development (GED) certificate; for example, Virginia law requires that transition teams inside custodial facilities consult with a re-enrollment team in the school district to which a youth will return in securing an appropriate educational placement. The core element for a solution to these challenges may be to ensure that local school districts have a financial stake in educational continuity for youth who have been incarcerated. Requiring local school districts to reimburse State educational authorities for the cost of students' education fosters such a stake. Uniform State graduation requirements may also improve compatibility between in-custody education and postrelease education. 24 references