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January | February 2015

Departments of Justice, Education Release Correctional Education Guidance Package To Improve Quality of Education Services for Confined Youth

Photo of Attorney General, Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the release of the Correctional Education Package at the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center in Alexandria, VA, on December 8, 2014.

Photo copyright U.S. Department of Education.

On December 8, 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the release of the Correctional Education Guidance Package, a joint effort of the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education. The guidance and technical assistance resources which comprise the package will aid juvenile justice secure care facilities, and the local juvenile justice and education agencies that work with and support them, in improving the quality of education for confined youth.

“All children—all children—deserve equal access to a high-quality public education. And this is no less true for children in the juvenile justice system,” said the Attorney General, speaking at the release event.

The package includes several documents intended to ensure that youth in confinement receive an education comparable to that provided in traditional public school settings. A resource guide, Guiding Principles for Providing High-Quality Education in Juvenile Justice Secure Care Settings, provides supportive core activities and identifies five principles for improving education for confined youth. Three “Dear Colleague” letters provide legal guidance on federally funded facilities’ civil rights obligations to confined youth, outline federal laws guaranteeing the right of youth with disabilities to receive special education and related services, and clarify that young people in secure care settings may be eligible for Pell grants, respectively.

Additional resources include a 2-page fact sheet which provides an overview of the guidance package contents, a fact sheet on federal student aid eligibility for students confined in adult correctional or juvenile justice facilities, and answers to frequently asked questions about the guidance package.

In a letter to the juvenile justice field announcing the availability of the Correctional Guidance Educational Package, OJJDP Administrator Robert Listenbee hailed the guidance package as “A significant step toward our collective vision of a juvenile justice system that promotes positive educational outcomes for all system-involved youth, enhances their academic and social-emotional skill sets, lessens the likelihood of youth reentering the justice system, and increases their chances of success in life.”


Access the Correctional Education Guidance Package.

OJJDP Administrator Robert Listenbee’s letter to the juvenile justice field as well as the Office’s Statement of Commitment, outlining OJJDP’s actions to ensure that the guidance is a useful tool for the field, can be accessed on the OJJDP website.