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Education and Mental Health Connections for Youth in the Juvenile Delinquency Programs. Peter Leone, Ph.D. University of Maryland October 24, 2005 Building the New IDEA NASDSE 2005 Minneapolis, Minnesota. Youth in Delinquency Programs. Who enters the system?

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education and mental health connections for youth in the juvenile delinquency programs

Education and Mental Health Connections for Youth in the Juvenile Delinquency Programs

Peter Leone, Ph.D.

University of Maryland

October 24, 2005

Building the New IDEA

NASDSE 2005

Minneapolis, Minnesota

youth in delinquency programs
Youth in Delinquency Programs
  • Who enters the system?
  • What are the consequences of involvement in the system?
    • To individual youth, families, & communities
    • Fiscal, policy consequences
  • What are the consequences of inadequate services and supports?
understanding the public school juvenile corrections connection
Understanding the Public School Juvenile Corrections Connection

Forces Shaping Policies and Practices in

Public Education

  • Accountability
  • Standards
  • Zero Tolerance and Concern About Violence and Disruption
the criminalization of school misbehavior
The Criminalization of School Misbehavior
  • Student misbehavior has become criminalized through zero-tolerance policies and practices.
  • Children are now referred to local police departments for behavior that at one time was handled by teachers and school administrators.
slide5
Many of the forces shaping policy and practice in public education have a disproportionately negative impact on children we serve in special education programs.
class action litigation disability juvenile corrections
Class Action Litigation, Disability, & Juvenile Corrections
  • Juvenile Cases (22 states + DC, PR)
    • Arkansas, Arizona (2), California (3), Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana (2), Louisiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Washington
slide7
If you look at the kids who are on the suspension and expulsion rolls in almost any school district, what you’ll find is they are not only disproportionately students of color, disproportionately African-American and male, but also disproportionately the lowest-achieving kids, kids in special education, kids in foster care.  ….  We respond to their neediness by pushing them out.

Pedro Noguera 

zero tolerance and concern about violence and disruption
Zero Tolerance and Concern About Violence and Disruption
  • Response to school violence and disruption
  • Interpretation of this mandate
  • Zero tolerance = Zero discretion
  • New measures are not consistent with trend in school violence and disruption
slide9
Being ‘bad’ is more socially acceptable than being ignorant – particularly for adolescents
differential treatment vulnerability
Differential Treatment & Vulnerability

Characteristics of youthMore Likely to be

Social skills deficits Suspended

Impulsivity Behaviors Interpreted by Expelled

Distractibility Educators Detained by Police

Police Detained in Juvenile

Courts Corrections

Corrections staff Committed to Juvenile Corrections

Sent to Disciplinary Confinement

Committed for longer periods of time while awaiting specialized programs or placements

slide11
Youth in juvenile corrections are disproportionately African-American, Latino, male, poor and have experienced school failure
  • Mental health and substance abuse problems of these youth are co-morbid with other factors that place youth at-risk for negative life outcomes
characteristics of youth in the juvenile delinquency system
Characteristics of Youth in the Juvenile Delinquency System
  • On average, youth’s reading abilities are four years below their peers.
  • The prevalence of conditions such as mental retardation, learning disabilities, and emotional disturbance is three to five times the rate of these conditions in the public schools.
  • Youth often have multiple mental illnesses and/or are exposed to multiple risk factors associated with delinquent behavior.
current profile of youth 04 05
Current profile of youth ‘04-05
  • 552 youth at entry to juvenile detention or commitment facility, July 04 – June 05
  • Academic assessments, interviews, and file review
problems experienced by youth with disabilities are not always apparent
Problems experienced by youth with disabilities are not always apparent
  • Many youth with disabilities and mental health problems do not have overt markers or cues about their disabilities.
  • Some youth with mental health problems are socially competent, others have serious problems expressing themselves clearly when under pressure.
what we know
What we know
  • Empirical studies consistently demonstrate a strong link between marginal literacy skills and the likelihood of involvement in the juvenile delinquency system.
  • Most incarcerated youth lag two or more years behind their age peers in basic academic skills, and have higher rates of grade retention, absenteeism, and suspension or expulsion.
challenges
Challenges
  • Responding to a negative and politically charged climate surrounding youth crime
  • Creating “self-interest” arguments for schools, courts, and communities associated with more positive outcomes for youth
  • Using IDEIA and the IEP process to ensure students receive services that prevent their involvement in the delinquency system.
questions
Questions
  • Does it make sense fiscally or ethically to incarcerate large number of African American, and Latino youth, and youth with disabling conditions and marginal skills?
  • Does it make sense to return youth to the community after incarceration without preparation for vocational or post-secondary education options?
slide26

More Questions

How can schools and school districts become more responsive to the needs of all of their students?

  • How can we ensure that if the court decides to detain or commit youth, that those youth receive appropriate education and treatment?
  • How can we ensure that agencies collaborate when serving youth?
for more information
For more information

EDJJ: National Center on Education, Disability, & Juvenile Justice

1308 Benjamin Bldg.

University of Maryland,

College Park, MD 20742-1161

www.edjj.org

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