Youth who receive appropriate aftercare services, including educational supports, immediately after release from a correctional facility are three times as likely to remain lawfully in the community after 12 months. This includes educational record transfers that are accurate, timely, confidential, and complete. Such records transfer must be compliant with relevant State and Federal laws and must contain all Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)–mandated documents in the individualized education program (IEP)., Aftercare services should be evidence based and include wraparound services, such as school re-enrollment programs, mentoring, the use of transition coordinators, and parental skill development. The best aftercare services should be coordinated with strategic partners to ensure a seamless transition from the facility to the community.
Depending on an individual youth’s age or level of need, reentry may look different. When a youth exits a correctional facility, he or she may return to his or her home school or a group home setting. Some youth who age out of juvenile settings but have not completed their sentences may be transferred to adult correctional facilities to continue their educational process. In contrast, a youth who has reached the age of majority at the juvenile setting and has completed his or her sentence may return to the community and enter the workforce or postsecondary educational settings. To ensure successful outcomes for youth with disabilities, aftercare services need to be planned for and systematically coordinated. Of the various paths to reentry a youth may take, the coordination of aftercare services is likely to be more effective when managed by the correctional facility. Identifying personnel with knowledge of IDEA requirements and effective transition planning to oversee transition and reentry coordination also should be the responsibility of the correctional facility.