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Lack of Education in Jdc

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Juvenile Incarceration Perpetuates Deviancy

Lacking Educational Standards and Negative Environment

In Today's Juvenile Detention Facilities

Diomira A. Birch

College Composition CM220-16

Sarah Kate Stephenson

October 2, 2005

It is the middle of the second quarter in high school. Classes have been in session for over a month. An unfamiliar face walks in the door, his first attendance of the year. He is able to scrape by and figure out what is going on in his English class, but is desperately trying to grasp the concepts in math. He had spent the last 120 days in a juvenile detention center. He is so far behind that he will most likely have to repeat his junior year.

Sadly, this is not a unique situation. Many youths that are incarcerated face similar homecomings upon their release from juvenile detention facilities. Incarceration is counterproductive to rehabilitating youth offenders because it denies them proper basic education, fails to address special education needs as well as prevents vital social skills from being developed.

Educational programs in detention facilities do not have to meet the same standards as public education. According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, "State and federal regulations do not speak directly to the obligations of public agencies to provide services to students incarcerated in local county or city jails."

This is completely unacceptable. Regardless of where a student is attending school, be it public, private or incarceration, it is a right to have the education need to be a vital member of society. If there are no specific standards set to these institutions, then the youths will be even more hard pressed to successfully re-enter society.

The state of Wyoming, in its executive summary of Juvenile Detention Standards, clearly states, "a juvenile detention facility under the management of local or country government is exempt from state certification." Also, only three hours of education per weekday must be provided, as well as, only if the stay is longer than seven days. There is also only what is called a "basic curriculum." That is fifteen hours a week, half of the normal school week of approximately 32 hours. This is only one of many examples found of lacking educational systems.

With that little of time being spent on education, one can deduce that either curriculum is being rushed through, without adequate time given to basic principles of the lesson. Or, that certain area disciplines are being completely neglected or left out. Whichever one it is, it is not acceptable. With these lacking educational standards, youths are not only being punished through being incarcerated, but also through being denied education.

However, because there are no national standards for education, there is the exact opposite of the Wyoming incarcerated educational program. The Macomb County (Michigan) Juvenile Justice Center School Program has excellent programs in place. Children are in class from 8:25AM to 3:25PM on all week days, year round. Also, all educators hold certification for Special Education and Emotionally Impaired. This seems to be the exception, rather than, the rule, as similar data could not be found..

Sharon Blatz states that the average time of incarceration of youths is six months. This is an addition to after care programs as well as charter schools. There is little interagency cooperation. This can create intense difficulty in fulfilling IEP (Individual Education Program) and following progress on goals. All agencies must be educated on what an IEP is, the details of that particular client, as well as their progress.

According to the website, an IEP must first be highly personalized to the individual student, addressing both their needs and personality. According to federal law, and student that participates in special education and other similar services must have an IEP. It contains information based on the students current performance, annual goals and the services that student is to receive, the extent of mainstreaming, which standardized tests they are required to take, the who/what/when/where of services, transitional services, and finally, how the progress will be measured. Special education providers in traditional school settings are trained in how to abide by the standards of the IEP.

The Individual Education Program is a vital asset to in

The three main disabilities seen in youth corrections that create a need for special education are a specific learning disability (such as dyslexia), emotional disturbance and mental retardation. Also, approximately 37 percent of youths incarcerated are believed to have some sort of special education need, compared to 9 percent of the total school population. (Rutherford, 2002). This information here is a cry for increased special education standards in detention facilities. Over one third of incarcerated student populace faces excessive difficulties in education already. The deprivation of special education will only perpetuate their learning difficulties.

When a youth is incarcerated for an extended period of time, not only do they not learn necessary social skills for their life to come, but they also pick up delinquent attitudes and behaviors. There are two social control theories that examine this aspect of why detention centers are less beneficial.

Criminologists Robert Burgess



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