Advocates often urge the dismantling of the school-to-prison pipeline. But for many of our youth, prisons are already their schools. In 1954, Brown v. Board of Education first demonstrated that “separate but equal” is an unacceptable doctrine within our school system. Yet the doctrine of separate and unequal continues today through the placement of a disproportionate number of minority students and students with disabilities in youth detention facilities, where they receive educational services that are often underfunded and inadequately staffed.
Current conversations about the benefits of providing higher education in correctional facilities revolve primarily around the notion that a postsecondary credential will improve a formerly incarcerated person’s chances of finding employment post-release. There is copious research that demonstrates this phenomenon.
Is it possible to educate youth in the adult criminal justice system? As Marshall Project reporter Eli Hager recently observed, “In the U.S., there is adult jail and there is school, and the two rarely go together.”
Access to courses is the first step toward meaningful educational opportunity for students who are removed from their homes and communities and placed in secure facilities. Under federal and state laws, students attending schools in juvenile justice facilities are entitled to educational opportunities comparable to those they would have if they were attending their neighborhood high schools.
A new set of resources from the federal Education Department aims to help justice-involved youth transition back into school and avoid further offenses.
The department released Friday a guide for students and an updated transitions toolkit for administrators and practitioners who work with youth, emphasizing for both the importance of early reentry planning.
Concern about how the next administration will deal with criminal justice reform is well-justified. But possibly the most troubling clue to the policies of a Trump administration is contained in the attitudes of the president-elect to science.
I am not sure how many folks similarly situated in juvenile justice understand that how we treat kids in our schools is one of the most essential factors in reducing crime among juveniles, and later in reducing crime among the adult population.
Very few things mattered to me, including my own life. It was not until I joined the college program of the juvenile detention facility that I was placed at that I realized the important role that education could play in helping young men like myself and others turn their life around.
Out-of-school suspensions dropped 20 percent nationally in recent years, but students of color and students with disabilities are still more likely to face harsh discipline than their peers, according to new federal data.
Burdensome paperwork requirements, limited academic preparation and a lack of adult guidance and support make it difficult for foster and homeless youth to pursue higher education, says a new report by the Government Accountability Office.