In an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun, UMD College of Education Professor Peter Leone argues for reform in providing education to incarcerated youth in Maryland, and discusses new legislation that could provide Maryland an opportunity to initiate change.
“Maryland has done poorly in providing education to incarcerated youth,” Dr. Leone writes, “Like other children in the state, students in juvenile correctional facilities have rights to education including special education services and supports.”
Dr. Leone sees new legislation—the recently passed Maryland House Bill 1607—“as an opportunity for the state to do the right thing.” Starting next school year, the legislation authorizes a pilot education program in one facility of the Department of Juvenile Services and establishes a work group to provide recommendations on juvenile justice.
“The work group established by the General Assembly has an opportunity to address long-standing problems with education services for incarcerated youth in Maryland,” Dr. Leone writes. “It is essential that youth leave DJS facilities more academically competent and better prepared to return to their communities.”
Dr. Leone is a professor in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education. Dr. Leone’s research focuses on behavior disorders, school discipline, and education programs in institutional settings.