Vol. 8, No. 1, 2002 Page 5


A review of the literature confirms that the number of youth with learning disabilities is disproportionately higher in the juvenile justice system than the population as a whole. In 1990, Casey and Keilitz reported on a meta-analysis they conducted of all of the prevalence studies of developmentally and learning disabled juvenile offenders. According to this study, 35.6% of juvenile offenders had learning disabilities. Leone and Meisel reported that the percentage of juveniles in juvenile correctional facilities who were previously identified and served in special education programs before their incarceration is at least three to five times the percentage of the public school population identified as disabled. Keilitz and Dunivant (1987) indicate that adolescents with learning disabilities were 220% more likely to be adjudicated than other adolescents....

"In Virginia, data on juveniles with special education needs in the juvenile justice correctional system reflect a similar prevalence. Between 1993-1998, approximately 39% to 42% of juveniles committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice were identified to be eligible for special education services at the time of commitment. One of the most frequently identified special education needs was services for learning disabilities."

--Department of Criminal Justice
Services, State of Virginia, 2000

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