How is teaching in a juvenile correction setting different from teaching in a public school setting?

Page 2: Intake and Treatment Plan Procedures

boy at table watching adult read paperYouth entering JC facilities undergo an intake process. Though these differ depending on the facility and the state in which it is located, the general procedures are relatively consistent. As part of the intake process, a case manager meets with the youth to:

  • Review the rules of the facility
  • Conduct assessments on the student’s academic, behavioral, and mental health needs
  • Create and discuss the student’s schedule of classes, recreation time, and services
  • Discuss the student’s individual academic needs (e.g., whether the student was receiving special education services)
  • Identify other necessary supports (e.g., anger-management training, Narcotics Anonymous meetings)

To allow for accurate planning and meaningful support, it is important to obtain the student’s school records as quickly as possible. This is particularly beneficial for students with disabilities who have individual education programs (IEP) that must be followed when in juvenile corrections.

Did You Know?

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a law the purpose of which is to protect the privacy of a student’s educational records. To comply with FERPA, schools require a parent’s or guardian’s signature to release a student’s educational record. What is not commonly recognized is that FERPA has explicitly included juvenile correctional facilities in the definition of “educational programs” to facilitate the exchange of educational records.

Once this information has been collected, the next step is to develop an individual treatment plan—a brief document outlining the actions the student is required to complete in order to be released from the facility. A good initial plan will serve to prevent challenges that could arise during the student’s time in the facility. The sooner the student begins following the plan, the more productive his or her time in the JC setting will be. This is usually developed by a multi-disciplinary transition or reintegration team—typically consisting of the youth, her or his family members or guardians, and a number of different professionals, for example the student’s case manager, parole officer, teachers, mentor, and related services providers.

Taking into account the youth’s length of stay at the facility, appropriate measurable goals, benchmarks, and rewards should be included in the individual treatment plan. If the student has an IEP, and it is available, these goals and benchmarks should align with those outlined in the IEP. Obtaining input from the student and focusing on goals he or she wishes to accomplish will increase the likelihood of success. Staff can determine whether the youth has made progress toward reaching a specific goal by establishing benchmarks. Each time the youth achieves a benchmark, he or she receives a reward. Rewards commonly include completion certificates from programs the students have taken part in during their stay, for example life skills, anger management, or vocational training programs. Certificates can be kept in a portfolio to demonstrate individual progress in the program. Click the link below to view a sample individual treatment plan.

Sample Individual Treatment Plan

Robert White was incarcerated for a number of years in a juvenile corrections facility. Listen as he describes how, as part of the individual treatment plan, his teacher collected data and established individualized instructional goals (time: 0:31).

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Robert White
Former incarcerated youth

Robert White

For Your Information

A student’s individual needs and length of stay in a facility influences the kinds of academic goals she or he is able to achieve (e.g., credit recovery toward high school math classes, earning a high school equivalency diploma).

  • The length of time youth spend in JC settings varies. A student might be detained for up to 60 days, 90 days, 120 days, or 180 days or longer. The individual treatment plan must establish goals that can be successfully accomplished during the time the student will be in the JC facility.
  • In jurisdictions where the agency has control over release dates, completion certificates from programs the students have participated in during their stay can earn them early release.

Peter Leone

There are benefits and challenges to obtaining student records quickly, even with the most current electronic record systems. Peter Leone discusses these briefly (time: 1:09).

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Peter Leone, PhD
Professor, Department of Counseling, Higher Education & Special Education
University of Maryland

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