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Education, Disability and Juvenile Justice Videoconference

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2003
Publication Series
This videotape discusses the relationship between education, disabilities, and the juvenile justice system.
Children with disabilities are over-represented in the juvenile justice system. Over one-third is disabled and receive special education. The most common disabilities are emotional and behavioral disorders, attention deficit and hyperactive disorder, learning disabilities, and mental retardation. Involvement in the juvenile justice system is associated with school failure, illiteracy, poorly developed social skills, inadequate school and community support, and association with delinquent peers. In addition, children with disabilities are more vulnerable to arrest, court processing, and incarceration. Youth with long-term incarceration and disabilities tend to commit crimes as adults. Many agencies address only one side of the problem (the delinquency) and not the other (the disability). The most effective prevention programs are comprehensive, integrative, and collaborative with a focus on the positive aspects of the child and the underlying causes of his/her behavior. Project Shield is a program with school and community partnership and collaboration, parental involvement, and a link to services. The Ferris School has evolved from a correctional model to an educational model and utilizes group therapy, mentoring, and the arts in its treatment program. The Western Massachusetts Department of Youth Services provides a transition program where supervision is reduced at each stage of the system. A community re-entry center identifies the services needed and oversees the transition to public schools.

Date Published: March 1, 2003