Transition Planning, Beginning at Intake
Reentry planning for youth with or without disabilities should begin as soon as a youth arrives at a facility and should outline transition issues, plus academic, career, and educational goals, and provide students with educational and career programming that prepares them for the challenges they might encounter after release from custody. The 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that students with disabilities who are older than 16 years must have specific documentation of age- and disability-appropriate transition services and plans in their individualized education program (IEP). Transitioning to community-based schools should be coordinated, be outcome oriented, and promote successful movement between the facility and the community, using established evidence- and research-based practices. This is a complex issue that needs to be organized by a transition team, including correctional staff, the youth themselves, their families, community partners, and local educational representatives. A consistent transition counseling and youth reassessment process while at the facility and a planned sequence of services after release are integral to the plan’s success.