It’s Back to School Basics for Teens in Oklahoma County Jail Classes


Two dozen juveniles are enrolled in high school at the Oklahoma County jail, reports the Oklahoman. While some offenders are diverted to group homes, the juvenile justice system, or sent home on probation, the teens on the jail’s 13th floor are each looking at the possibility of serious time behind bars.

In the meantime, it’s back to science, social studies, literature, and math. There are no elective courses or extracurricular activities here, but with a balanced student-to-teacher ratio and flexibility for individualized lesson plans, high school in jail seems to be more effective than a traditional school setting. Social distractions and the slow pace of public education were keeping him back, said student Deauntre Smith. Now an ace in math, he looks forward to a post-release career in accounting or law. Smith exemplifies why continued educational services are important for juveniles behind bars who might otherwise be dismissed as dumb or worthless, said Todd Mihalcik, one of two public school teachers in the program.

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