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Lawmakers ponder juvenile justice education

By Sascha Cordner


Tallahassee, FL – A bill that would make changes to how education is taught in juvenile detention centers was the topic of several hours of discussion at an open meeting Monday. As Sascha Cordner reports, a panel created by the Florida lawmaker who spearheaded that proposal listed some of their concerns, including what agency should be in charge of this new brand of education reform.

Some members of the Juvenile Justice Education Workgroup suggested putting the Department of Education in charge of better educating juveniles so they can get a job out of prison. But, others, like Vicki Lopez Lukis, an expert on education as it relates to re-entry, said different:

"We hold the Department of Corrections accountable and responsible for a successful transition back into the community. So, if we can identify those components and then set up outcomes for each of those components as we do in the adult system, the final authority for these kids in the system should rest with the Department of Juvenile Justice."

But, Senator Stephen Wise of Jacksonville, the bill's sponsor, says at this point, the only clear choice for him is the Florida Department of Education, and if people later down the road want to change that, after the bill becomes law, they can.