After 22 Years, Educating Incarcerated Youth Still a Challenge
November 4, 2019
In 1993, Martha Stone, a lawyer at the Center for Children’s Advocacy, brought a lawsuit challenging, among other things, the conditions of confinement at the state’s juvenile detention centers. Four years later, the court approved an agreement that resulted in the Emily J. Consent Decree, part of which required the state to retool its educational services for juvenile detainees.
Now, after years of studies showing the ways the justice system can affect young people’s education in Connecticut, officials are still grappling with how to improve educational services for kids in the justice system.
“We thought it was fixed back in 1997,” said Martha Stone. “And here we are again 22 years later, dealing with the same issues.”
The challenges of teaching children in the justice system are legion. According to a report published in 2018, Connecticut’s education system for children in the justice system … is unwieldy, lacks standards that would allow for monitoring and accountability, and fails to help minors transition back to their communities once they’re released.
The Juvenile Justice Policy Oversight Committee (JJPOC) has been tasked with fixing the problem.