Disparate Disciplinary Confinement of Diverse Students in Juvenile Corrections

Transition of Youth and Young Adults

ISBN: 978-1-78441-934-9, eISBN: 978-1-78441-933-2

ISSN: 0735-004X

Publication date: 15 July 2015


Youth in juvenile corrections settings have significant academic, behavioral, and mental health needs. Additionally, a disproportionate percentage of them are identified with a diagnosed disability, with Emotional Disturbance (ED) as the most common diagnosis. Despite these facts, appropriate education and intensive mental health care is often lacking in these settings. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that some facilities use methods such as disciplinary confinement as a response to behavioral infractions; a practice that is not only counterproductive to rehabilitation, but violates federal education law and established legal standards. This study examined the use of disciplinary confinement in a juvenile justice system and investigated factors associated with frequency of this practice and time spent in disciplinary confinement. Participants were 2,353 youth with and without identified disabilities at state-run juvenile corrections facilities. Results indicated that students with disabilities spent considerably more time in disciplinary confinement than students without disabilities. Students with ED spent considerably more time than students in other disability categories and students without disabilities. Additionally, Black students, Black students with ED, and Hispanic students with ED spent considerably more time in disciplinary seclusion than other groups. The authors discuss results with respect to disproportionate use of disciplinary confinement and provide subsequent recommendations including the reexamination of disciplinary confinement practices by leaders in juvenile corrections.


Krezmien, M.P., Travers, J., Valdivia, M., Mulcahy, C., Zablocki, M., Ugurlu, H.E. and Nunes, L. (2015), "Disparate Disciplinary Confinement of Diverse Students in Juvenile Corrections", Transition of Youth and Young Adults (Advances in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities, Vol. 28), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 273-290. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0735-004X20150000028011

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