On December 8, 2014, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (far right) and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (near right) announced the release of the Correctional Education Guidance Package, aimed at helping states and local agencies strengthen the quality of education services provided to America’s estimated 60,000 young people in confinement every day.
Developed through a partnership between the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Education (ED), the guidance package is designed to inform the efforts of states, school districts, and juvenile justice facilities that serve system-involved youth. It includes recommendations and federal requirements for ensuring that youth in confinement receive an education comparable to those provided in traditional public school settings.
The package includes the following components:
Guiding Principles for Providing High-Quality Education in Juvenile Justice Secure Care Settings, jointly issued by DOJ and ED, outlines five principles and supporting core activities to improve or implement new education practices.
Dear Colleague Letter on Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for Students with Disabilities in Correctional Facilities, issued by ED’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, clarifies state and public agency obligations to provide a free, appropriate public education to eligible students with disabilities who reside in correctional facilities.
Dear Colleague Letter on Civil Rights of Students in Juvenile Justice Residential Facilities, issued by DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and ED’s Office for Civil Rights, stipulates that juvenile justice residential facilities receiving DOJ or ED funding must comply with the federal civil rights laws that these agencies enforce.
Dear Colleague Letter on Access to Federal Pell Grants for Students in Juvenile Justice Residential Facilities, issued by ED’s Office of Postsecondary Education, provides campus financial aid professionals the Federal Pell Grant eligibility requirements for youth residing in juvenile justice facilities.
Quality education is an essential protective factor for youth involved with the juvenile justice system, which helps them set realistic long-term goals, acquire the skill sets to succeed, and return to school and their communities as productive citizens.
The guiding principals are aligned with the recommendations in the Juvenile Justice chapter of the School Discipline Consensus Report, released in June 2014.