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Status of Education in Pre-Trial Juvenile Detention

NCJ Number
Journal of Correctional Education Volume: 63 Issue: 1 Dated: April 2012 Pages: 35-68
Perie Reiko Koyama
Date Published
April 2012
34 pages
This study examined educational programming in juvenile detention facilities.
While considerable research has been conducted on educational practices and programming for incarcerated youth, significantly less attention has been given to short-term detained youth. The high transience of pre-adjudicated youth, legal protections pending trial, and varying levels of collaboration with correctional personnel have made it challenging to thoroughly examine the educational status of juvenile detention centers. This study presents the first national survey to focus exclusively on programming for detained youth. A sample of 340 administrators from juvenile detention centers in 47 States responded to an online survey. Although 96.2 percent of facilities were reportedly required by law to provide educational services to resident youth, the quality of programming differed greatly across regions and individual centers. Less than 7 percent of programs were accredited by the American Correctional Association and only 66.9 percent reported participating in No Child Left Behind (NCLB) assessments. Nearly three-quarters did not always receive students' academic records and more than 20 percent did not systematically develop or use individualized education plans (IEPs).Fewer than half of programs offered transitional services for exiting students. Open-ended response data indicated that the rapid mobility of students, highly diverse learning needs, and general lack of resources post the biggest challenges for providers. Additional findings and recommendations are presented. (Published Abstract)