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Special Education and the Juvenile Justice System

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2000
16 pages
This Bulletin summarizes the provisions of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and analyses their relevance to the juvenile justice process, from intake and initial interview to institutional placement and secure confinement.
The Bulletin is intended to inform judges, attorneys, advocates, probation officers, institutional staff, and other youth-serving professionals about the impact of special education issues on juvenile justice matters. In order to be eligible for funding of special educational services under IDEA, a youth must have one or more of the disabilities listed in the Statute and accompanying regulations, and because of that disability require special education and related services. Disabilities that are often encountered among delinquents include emotional disturbance, specific learning disability, mental retardation, other health impairment, and speech or language impairment. Every youth with a disability, as defined by IDEA, is entitled to free appropriate public education. IDEA also requires that, "to the maximum extent appropriate," youth with disabilities, including those in public and private institutions or other care facilities, are education with youth who are not disabled. Placement in special classes, separate schooling, or other removal from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be satisfactorily achieved. This Bulletin also discusses identification, referral, and evaluation under IDEA, the individualized education program, special education and related services, due process protections, the "stay put" rule, and special education in juvenile delinquency cases. Another section addresses youth with disabilities in institutional settings. 93 notes and 34 references

Date Published: July 1, 2000