Will Adjudicated Youth Return to School After Residential Placement? The Results of a Predictive Variable Study

Keeley, James H.
March 2006
Journal of Correctional Education;Mar2006, Vol. 57 Issue 1, p65
Academic Journal
Delinquent youths' proclivity to return to school after release from placement in a juvenile residential institution has been significantly discouraged before their 18th birthday. Often, years of poor education performance and failure, discipline issues, neighborhood and family debilitation, older age, adjudication stigmatization, and other crimogenic variables become barriers to continuing their education. This study discusses public expectations and the obstacles to obtaining them. These obstacles include the economic impact of dropping out of school, un/underemployment, lower standard of living, and learning disabilities. The population for the study was 348 delinquent male youth adjudicated to residential placement at a low security youth forestry camp in Pennsylvania. A discriminate analysis was performed to explore the relationship between nine independent variables and a criterion variable. This variable was whether delinquent youth returned to school after release from residential placement in a youth forestry camp. Through the explanation of descriptive statistics about race, plans to return to school, special education identification, and age categories, an insight into the characteristics of the population is provided. The means and standard deviation for months in placement, age at release, ability scores and posttest reading and math scores are also included. These statistics are followed by an explanation of the findings ,from the stepwise linear discriminate analysis. The discriminate analysis found that two variables were statistically significant: student planned to return to school and age at release. It was found that these variables accounted for part of the variance in actual behavior of returning to school on release. The implications and recommendations could have significant impacts on the juvenile justice courts practices that in turn could instigate changes in legislation, state policy, and institutional procedures. These effects could be found in the overall treatment focus, education structure and delivery, institutional operations and beyond through aftercare.


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