Published August 30, 2021
Congratulations to Associate Professor Patricia Logan-Greene and her colleagues on the publication of their article, "The school-to-prison pipeline for probation youth with special education needs" in the American Journal of Osthopsychiatry.
Kim, B. K. E., Johnson, J., Rhinehart, L., Logan-Greene, P., Lomeli, J., & Nurius, P. (2021). The school-to-prisonpipeline for probation youth with special education needs. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.
Juvenile justice-involved youth with special education eligibility may have distinct needs from other justice-involved youth that place them at higher risk of re-offending. This study examines the extent to which the comorbidity of risk factors, such as school challenges and mental and emotional health problems, is related to recidivism among probation youth with a diagnosis eligible for special education. Data came from the Washington State Juvenile Court Assessment provided to 4,317 youth adjudicated to probation for at least 3 months. We used independent sample t-tests and chi-square tests to assess the difference in mental health and school problems (e.g., suspension/expulsion history) between those with and without special education needs. Multiple regression models estimated the unique and cumulative role of special education status, mental health, and school problems in future recidivism. In the study sample, 39.6% (n = 1,708) of the youth had diagnoses eligible for special education; over 42% of these youth had two or more qualifying diagnoses. Controlling for demographics, mental health, and self-regulation skills, our findings suggest that probation youth with special education needs, compared to the rest of the probation youth, were more likely to recidivate. School exclusion increased the number of recidivisms significantly more for justice-involved youth with special education needs than those without special education needs. The findings of the study illuminate important factors for continued justice-involvement as well as insights into service and treatment planning for youth serving probation in the community, especially for those who are eligible for special education.