Students Behind Bars in Ohio

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Most kids in Ohio are out of school and home for the holidays.   But about 600 or more of them won’t be going home and they go to school year ‘round.   Those are the children in one of the three juvenile correction centers in the state.

State Impact Ohio’s Mark Urycki has details.



Students serving time take classes from licensed Ohio teachers just like their peers on the outside.   The 3 middle and high schools have names like the Luther Ball High School or Ralph Starkey High School so the name on the diploma doesn’t carry a stigma.

The superintendent in charge, Jennifer Sanders, says the average student stays one year but others may stay longer, they age out at 21. Often they arrive behind in their coursework.


“In some cases, depending on a variety of options, it may be better for a child to go for the GED as their option or a high school diploma. “ 


Sanders says 65% of her students come from families that had another member incarcerated at some time.  Almost half have some sort of mental health disorders

Sanders says most of the juveniles have experienced some form of trauma so counselors, medical staff, and teachers work together to help them


“So if you look at not what our kids are or what our kids are doing but more focused on why they do it, I think we could see a lot better results.” 


Sanders says the centers follow the Ohio K-12 standards and offer vocational education classes as well.  Funding for the classes comes from federal Title I money.

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