Wright State University Mary Ellen Buechter
Current Issues in Social Studies
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS FOR JUVENILES IN THE COURT
SYSTEM IN MIAMI COUNTY, OHIO
The Miami County (Ohio) Juvenile Court system handled five thousand, three hundred
and thirty seven cases in 2000. Over fifty percent of these cases involved repeat
offenders. Of the twenty-five hundred juveniles adjudicated each year, about half are
placed in a court-supervised program at least once. These programs range from in-home
supervision for minor infractions to long-term sentences in the state juvenile detention
facility for felony convictions. Included in the court-supervised options are the following:
1. Juvenile and family intervention and counseling programs
2. In home probation (graded by level of service needed) supervised by a probation
officer (PO). Note 1 *usually accompanied by individual or family counseling and
group therapy mandates for particular behaviors (drug and/or alcohol abuse, anger
management). Note 2 *these young men and women may also be mandated to attend
the county high school day treatment program school in the detention facility
3. In home house arrest, with or without an electrical monitoring system (see notes 1 and
4. Foster care placement, usually three weeks to nine months, (see notes 1 and 2 above).
5. Secure detention placement, usually one day (shock detention), eight days (deterrent
detention) or up to three weeks (while awaiting adjudication).
6. Sentencing to the David L. Brown Youth Center, males only, for six to nine months
(truancy, unruly, shoplifting, contempt of court. and other anti-social behaviors).
7. Sentencing to the Gate Program, women only, in secure detention, usually six to nine
months (generally for drug and alcohol repeat offenders).
8. Sentencing to the Rehabilitation Center, men only, usually six to nine months (drug
and alcohol repeat offenders).
9. Sentencing to the Department of Youth Services (DYS), State of Ohio, for long-term
incarceration (felony convictions) of a few months to many years.
For the purposes of this paper, I will address the educational programs for current high
school students in the county detention school, secure detention, the youth center, or
placed in the county rehabilitation center. Foster children attend regular school as do
students on family intervention, probation or house arrest. DYS has its own facility
educational program, usually a GED instructor.
Day Treatment School
Mr. M, a retired principal, is the instructor at the county day treatment high school.
He has a youth leader as an assistant.
The students are transported to/from the school each day. They are court ordered to
attend from 8 am – 1 pm. There are no discipline issues in the facility as the students are
on probation or house arrest at the time of placement and are referred out to the probation
officer for incarceration if any behavior problems surface. Mr. M follows a regular
school curriculum with time each day for English, Math, History, Health, Science, and
Physical Education. The students work out of grade level appropriate texts. Most
students are in the school for at least six months. Reports detailing subjects studied and
time spent are sent to the home school where credit is awarded as that school deems
Ms. O is the instructor at the Miami County Juvenile Detention Center. Most
students are sentenced for less than two weeks, some for as little as one classroom day.
She has a co-teacher (man) and a guard in the room. Each day she and the other teacher
divide the class between them with the students having homework (from their home
school) placed in a separate classroom. Boys attend school in the morning and girls in the
afternoon. Ms. O has been there for many years and really enjoys her job
When students are first admitted to detention, they are given the PACE test in English,
Math and Reading. Many are repeaters and they just begin their course of study. The
students then work for two and a half hours each day on their particular modules. If the
students have assignments from their home school, (less than 20%) they work with the
other instructor on these assignments. In the remainder of their day time, they take
health, gym, art, anger management, therapy and are offered Bible study. These classes
are offered outside of the regular academic school curriculum and are taught by visiting
Students in detention have a wide range of capabilities. Some cannot read on the first
grade level even though they must be at least 12 years old to be sent to detention. Their
math, reading and grammar skills are the greatest areas of weakness.
Ms. O stated she has NO behavior problems. If the students get out of their seats, talk
out, do not work on task, look around or do anything not acceptable, they are immediately
taken to lockdown for 24 hours by the guard. Even though the students are there only two
and one-half hours a day, she thinks it is such a positive and quiet working environment,
that they learn as much as they would in a 6.5 hour regular school day.
Reports are not sent back to the home school unless requested by the school.
Generally if a student is there for more than six weeks, he/she can be awarded a credit in
physical education (as they have it for an hour and a half each day).
There is a program for females in the detention facility that involves long term
incarceration called the GATE Program. The girls are sentenced to detention for 6-9
months and go through a similar program as the boys do in rehab. It is for alcohol and
David L. Brown Youth Center (DLB)
Ms. Q is the certified instructor (in Elementary Education) at DLB. She works for the
County of Miami, and has been there for just six months. She works with a tutor and an
assistant. She is employed Monday-Friday from 8:30 am – 4 pm. Currently there are
fourteen boys in the facility (a former children’s home), but it has a capacity of twenty-
three. The general daily schedule includes school in the morning from 9 am – noon and
again in the afternoon from 12:45 – 3 pm.
Most students are sent there for six months, but they stay until they complete all
levels of the program. There is an orientation level and then four progressive steps. Each
step takes about thirty-two days to complete. She has virtually no discipline problems
because she gives the students points each day in a variety of categories (keep hands and
feet to self, raise hand before speaking, etc). The points are added up and the students
cannot move to a new level without a certain number of consecutive days with adequate
points. Students in orientation wear blue suits. Students in trouble wear orange suits and
if they continue to be in trouble, they can go back ten days in the program.
Ms. Q teaches history, English, math and language arts each day. She concentrates on
math and reading, because the boys are all low in these two areas. She uses the PACE
programs some of the time, but generally she teaches each subject each day and if the
students are familiar with the concepts, it is a review for them. There is an agricultural
science teacher from the local vocational school who comes in each day and takes three
students at a time for the study of science. The students work outside where they take
care of some animals and tend a garden. There is a counselor who works with the
students each day on life skills and every day living concepts.
Ms. Q’s major complaint is the lack of equipment and supplies. She has virtually no
textbooks or supplemental material. Her PACE packets have not been updated in years.
She has three computers and is lucky if they work each day. (I am soliciting material for
At the end of the stay, Ms. Q sends the home school a report by subject. It includes
the number of hours in each subject area. The home school decides if credit is awarded.
Very few of the students return to DLB.
Ms. R has been the instructor in the rehabilitation center for eight years, and works for
the county. She teaches math, science and machine technology. Another teacher
instructs in history and English. If the students are proficient, they attend the local
vocational school three hours a day in the afternoon in machine trades. There is also a
guest instructor once a week that teaches job skills.
There are thirty-six beds in rehab, twenty-six were filled on the day I visited. Most
juveniles are sentenced to six-nine month terms, and finish levels of competency before
they are released.
All students are academically tested when they enter rehab. Test scores range from
first to tenth grade levels.
Ms. R finds most of her students deficient in reading, grammar and mathematics. She
has the students about three hours each day, and spends at least three-fourths of an hour
on math and the same on a reading program, usually the PACE program as a reading lab.
The students also take physical education, science, social studies and psychology. They
also are involved in group sessions that deal with alcohol or drug rehabilitation.
Many students in rehabilitation are marked “GED” by the court or that program of
study is suggested for them. Most of them are at least seventeen years old and have less
than five high school credits. About twenty-five percent of her students are GED
There are four different groups of students who all come in at different times of the
day. They are categorized by the level of discipline they are on in the center (orientation,
Levels A, B, C). Each group has about 8 members and she generally can work with them
individually in their curriculum. They also work on a computer program similar to the
PACE program where they take tests and she can monitor their progress.
A full report of classes taken, hours in each class, and grades received is sent to the
home school when the juvenile is released from rehab. Ms. R had no idea what, if
anything, is done with that information.
C spent nine months in the David L. Brown Youth Center. He worked with Ms. Q and
there were fifteen boys there between the ages of ten and seventeen. C provided the
6:15 am wake, dress
6:30 am hygiene
6:40 am breakfast
7:30 am school
12:00 pm lunch
12:30 pm school
3:30 pm sports, exercising
5:30 pm supper
6:05 pm clean up
7:00 pm group meetings
9:00 pm freetime/shower
9:30 pm lights out
C stated he worked on PACE modules in reading and math each day. In the PACE
modules, he took the pretests, worked on the modules and completed the reviews He had
a textbook for world history and he generally read and answered textbook questions.
In lieu of a regular science class, C and the other boys worked outside with an
agricultural science teacher from the local vocational school. They also took notes and
In physical education he played basketball, football, baseball, and lifted weights.
C had no idea whether any classes he took transferred back to his home high school or
if he completed any credits. He stated he felt like he learned a little bit in detention and
school was pretty fun. He left in the middle of his freshman year and when he returned
nine months later, he was not sure of his class standing. I requested his transcripts, but
have not received them.
R recently spent thirty days in the detention center.
His daily schedule consisted of the following:
6:00 am wake an make bed
6:05 am clean room
7:00 am physical fitness
8:30 am breakfast
8:45 am hygiene
9:00 am school
11:35 am lunch
1:00 pm group sessions
2:00 pm physical fitness
4:30 pm dinner/hygiene
6:30 pm lockdown
7:00 am snack
7:15 pm lockdown
10:00 pm lights out
In the classroom, R states there was Ms. O and a guard at all times. He said he did an
empowerment plan the first day there (he was a many times repeater) and then he
immediately began to work on PACE packets. He says all the work was easy and on
Friday he had art.
R had work brought in from the home school and went to a separate room with an
instructor to complete it. There were only boys in his program.
I think Miami County, Ohio is fortunate to have the facilities and services available for
the education and treatment of these hundreds of juvenile offenders. The levels of
placement are also important so the juvenile understands that there are consequences that
will move him/her forward or backward in the program.
A glaring flaw in the system is the lack of coordination between home schools and the
other educational facilities. Unfortunately, this may mean the student is placed back in
school and credit deficient. Statistics show that students with less than ten credits entering
their junior year are prime candidates for dropping out of high school. Students in Miami
County facilities are from a variety of other counties and school systems and it may be
impossible to coordinate the education with each school. I would suggest that, when
possible, each student work on self paced half-credit modules that can be transported to
another facility or home school where credit can be awarded. This would enable the
student to complete work, obtain credit and see results from his/her work.