Specifically juvenile delinquents and the overall juvenile justice system. Many youth are unable to succeed in school for reasons such as diagnosed and undiagnosed earning disabilities and are dropping out of school because of lack of interest or inability to succeed. “According to the 2012 Maryland Assessment, 34. 5% of Baltimore City 3rd graders are reading below grade level, a figure that is double the state average” (Baltimore City Library Project, 2014, para. According to this statistic, it’s difficult for a child not to be on the pipeline for crime or dropping out of school. It’s the duty of the national school systems to provide alternative methods that will embrace the issues which are effecting the academic growth of children; ultimately providing them with less ptions as adolescents and adults. Learning disabilities can affect your reading, writing, spelling and cognitive abilities.
Many incarcerated youth have learning disabilities. “Between 28 & 43% of incarcerated youth have special educational needs” (Fink, Morgan) A learning disability is defined as being a disorder in one or more of main psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, read, writing, spell, or do mathematics calculations. (LJ . S. Office of Education. P. 65083).
The lack of specialized educational services provided to children who have developmental delays, reading disabilities such as dyslexia and other language based learning disabilities; have a direct impact on a child’s potential to become a juvenile delinquent. Many times children who have reading disabilities need specialized instruction, (which includes one on one help) according to their learning styles or smaller classroom settings to provide smaller teacher to student ratios.
However in most urban schools, due to the many societal changes in our cities, there are overwhelming mounts of children who are categorized as learning disabled. Children are entering school with learning issues from being exposed to drugs during their mothers pregnancy and cognitive issues from lead poisoning because of living in an unsafe home. “Children exposed to high levels of air pollution show evidence of cognitive impairment and inflammation in the prefrontal lobes of the brain, factors correlated with antisocial behavior in adolescence” (Siegel, 2010).
Many schools are unable to provide youth with more one on one help, to allow them to progress faster or the right kind of specialized nstruction that is appropriate for their needs. Subsequently youth drop out Of school for reasons such as harassment from their peers, the lack Of acceptance from their peers, and the lack of high expectations from their special classroom settings. ‘Youths’ success or lack of success in school may affect their subsequent involvement in juvenile delinquency’ (Winters, 1 997, p5).
Most learning disabled youth have problems with completing some academic tasks and with developmental tasks; however they usually don’t have issues outside of educational environments. This in sense means that an illiterate youth, can se their practical smart skills, for criminal activity. Leading to a child using their social skills as a means to educate their self, possibly join a gang for social acceptance, and subsequently engage in illegal activities. Education reform is a possible remedy for the high rate of juvenile delinquency.
Many youth who struggle with reading and subsequently drop out of school come to school with other issues. Without those issues being addressed, it’s difficult for a child to academically achieve. Providing wrap around services for children in school can improve and decrease the high school dropout rate. This can also steer youth away from a path to delinquency. For example if there are problems at home which include minor neglect, a school social worker or outside social services program can intervene.
The school social worker or case manager can assist the parent with resources to provide a stable home environment. Operation Safe Kids is a program in Baltimore, Maryland which provides intensive management and monitoring of high risk juvenile offenders in order to prevent them from being victims or offenders of violent crime. Two components of their program include education and family case management services. Specialized instruction is also desperately needed for children who have learning disabilities like dyslexia. Many schools are unable to provide specialized instruction for children who have dyslexia.
Creating an after school tutoring program that provides reading intervention to help them with their unique reading problems can also be an alternative method of fixing a future problem. Reading is the gateway to a new world that can open the door a child’s future. Their future can include positive contributions to our society.