Bill Would Guarantee Education of Incarcerated
I am proud to be the
prime sponsor of legislation, Assembly bill 6009, which would
amend the State’s Education Law
and the Executive Law to guarantee the provision of educational
services to youth confined in detention facilities. The legislation
would also ensure that appropriate special education services
are provided to young people who are either incarcerated in
local correctional facilities or confined in detention facilities.
The legislation would
require that educational services for individuals confined
in local juvenile detention facilities be furnished by the
school district or the board of cooperative educational services
(BOCES) serving the area in which the juvenile detention
facility is located, except in the case of an institutional
juvenile detention facility operated by the City of New York,
where the City’s Department of
Juvenile Justice would be responsible for the provision of
The legislation specifies that all persons under 21 years
of age who have not received a high school diploma and who
are confined in juvenile detention facilities shall be provided
educational services. Additionally, pupils placed in juvenile
detention in a non-secure family boarding care (FBC) facility
would be admitted to the schools of the district in which their
home is located, and pupils placed in juvenile detention in
a non-secure agency-operated boarding home (AOBH) facility
or a non-secure group care (GC) facility would be provided
educational services on the site of the juvenile detention
facility by the school district in which the facility is located.
Under current law,
while there are provisions and funding for the education
of incarcerated youth in New York State, there are no provisions
or funding for youth confined in juvenile detention facilities—an
omission that would be corrected by enactment of this legislation.
Though the average time a detained child spends in a juvenile
detention facility is only a couple of weeks, many children
spend as many as four to six months as they await a trial
or other legal proceeding.
It is our constitutional obligation to provide these children
with an adequate and appropriate education while they are detained,
just as we do when a child has been suspended or incarcerated.
Children and young people who have been in trouble or who have
required special intervention, for whatever reason, cannot
be denied education, not only because they are constitutionally
entitled to an education, but because learning is pivotal to
their emotional, psychological and intellectual maturity. How
much cheaper it is to provide tailored and appropriate educational
services than to neglect these young people and condemn them
to lives without hope and without opportunity.#
Assemblyman Sanders is chairman of the Education Committee.
E-mail him at email@example.com or phone 212.979.9696.
His mailing address is 201 East 16th Street, New York, NY