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Locked Out: Improving Educational and Vocational Outcomes for Incarcerated Youth

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2015
16 pages
This issue-brief presents key findings from a 2015 survey of all 50 States that solicited information from State juvenile correctional agencies on the following issues: the educational and vocational services provided to incarcerated youth; what student outcome data are collected, analyzed, and reported; and what is done to ensure that youth receive educational and vocational services after release from incarceration.
The brief also provides recommendations for local and State policymakers and advocates that are intended to improve college and career readiness for youth in the juvenile justice system. In addition, there are examples of how select States have implemented these recommendations in policy and practice. The analysis of the survey findings yielded three key findings. First, most incarcerated youth do not have access to the same educational and vocational services as their peers in the community; and they do not attend schools that have the same rigorous curriculum and student performance standards as traditional public schools. Second, most States do not collect, track, and report student outcome data for incarcerated youth in all facility schools. Third, policies and practices in most States do not facilitate an effective transition to community-based education or vocational settings for youth after release from incarceration. Recommendations target each of these findings; and following each set of recommendations, an example is provided of how a particular State has implemented some of the recommendations. Overall, State policymakers, along with juvenile justice and educational/vocational administrators, must cooperate in overseeing and delivering high-quality educational and vocational services to incarcerated youth in their States and provide an effective transition to community-based educational and vocational programs after their release. 8 figures and 12 notes

Date Published: November 1, 2015