The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced today that 52 juvenile offenders between the ages of 18 and 25 reached a significant milestone in their efforts to turn their lives around by receiving either a high school diploma or GED certificate. The youth were honored at a graduation ceremony today in the N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton, and were joined by 16 youths under the age of 18 who graduated from the O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility last Friday.
“A high school education is a strong foundation for building a successful life when youthful offenders return to the community,” said Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary of CDCR’s Division of Juvenile Justice. “This ‘rehabilitation through education’ provides intellectual and life skills that will open doors for these youth and will help them reverse the cycle of revolving in and out of incarceration. That reduces recidivism and improves public safety.”
The graduation day also was an opportunity for the youth to share their successes with family members, many of whom attended a luncheon prior to the afternoon ceremonies.
One factor that distinguishes the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) from the adult prison system is its network of accredited high schools that provide students with the same education they would receive in their communities, including special education. Those standards ensure that juvenile offenders are in classrooms for the state-mandated 240 minutes a day for 210 days a year. The N.A. Chaderjian High School recently had its accreditation renewed by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Since March, 2005 when DJJ adopted a remedial plan for education, approximately 5,200 youth have achieved some level of academic performance, from high school diplomas or GED’s to enrollment in vocational education, continuing education classes or college courses. In addition, last year 283 youth, 50 percent of those who were eligible, enrolled in college courses, taking advantage of long distance classes offered by Coastline College.
For more on the Division of Juvenile Justice, visit the CDCR DJJ web site at www.cdcr.ca.gov/Juvenile_Justice/index.html.