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African American Students; Health Needs; Mental Health; Achievement Tests; White Students; Special Education; Academic Achievement; Special Needs Students; Institutionalized Persons; Correctional Institutions; Juvenile Justice; Scores; Disabilities; Drug Therapy; Individual Characteristics; Reading Skills; Reading Achievement


Currently, there is limited research about the relationship between academic, mental health needs, and special education status among populations of incarcerated youth. Additionally, little is known about differences between special education and general education students, or about differences between detained and committed populations. This article reports the results of an investigation of the academic achievement, mental health history, and special education status of 555 detained and incarcerated boys in one mid-Atlantic state. Descriptive data and results from a logistic regression analysis are reported. We found that mean standard scores of participants on standardized achievement tests were one standard deviation below the population mean. We also found high rates of participants with disabilities, and high rates of participants reporting prior therapy and prior use of psychotropic medication. In addition, we found that student academic and mental health characteristics obtained through an intake screening protocol were predictive of special education status, but not of placement in detention or commitment settings. Finally, we found that African American students had a significantly higher risk of being committed than Caucasian students. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

Publisher Attribution

Krezmien, M. P., Mulcahy, C. A., & Leone, P. E. (2008). Detained and committed youth: Examining differences in achievement, mental health needs, and special education status. Education and Treatment of Children,31(4), 445-464.

Copyright permission granted the publisher, West Virginia University Press

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