News Releases

Juvenile Offender Graduates Earn Diplomas, GEDs In Ventura

SACRAMENTO—Fifty-five youth from the Mary B. Perry High School, located inside the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility in Camarillo, today received high school diplomas or GEDs, approximately one-third of the youthful offenders who will complete their education this year in the state Division of Juvenile Justice.
The graduations continue a trend of increasing academic achievement even as the offender population in DJJ has decreased, while data compiled for courts overseeing the education program show math and reading scores similar to those of students in public school districts.
“Rehabilitation is the primary objective of our juvenile justice program and a high school education is the foundation for building a successful life,” noted Matthew Cate, CDCR Secretary.   “Over the last seven years, with guidance from court-appointed experts, we have strengthened our education program to ensure that when these youth return to the community, they are more prepared to be constructive citizens.”
The DJJ operates high schools in each of its three correctional facilities that are accredited by the Western Association of Colleges and Schools and with curriculum that meets all California Department of Education Standards.  DJJ students attend the same full day of school as students in public high school.   In addition, students received supplemental services, such as English Learner curriculum or individual special education plans. 
Recent data compiled for the court that oversees DJJ’s programs show a steady increase in the proportion of youth receiving diplomas or GED’s despite a significant decrease in the youthful offender population over the same amount of time. 
 In the 2004/05 academic year, when a reform plan was developed in response to a lawsuit (Farrell) over substandard education, 250 youth earned diplomas or GED’s, out of a population of 3,133.  By comparison, in the 2010/11school year, 375 youth earned that level of academic achievement in a population that had dropped to 1,042.
In addition, 205 youth were enrolled in college courses in the 2010/11 school year, compared to 363 in 2004/05 when the DJJ population was three times larger.
That progress also is revealed in math and English scores for DJJ youth in the California High School Exit Exam.  Recent test scores show that DJJ youth passed the math and English portion of the exam at 32 percent and 24 percent, respectively.  Scores for students in the Fresno Unified School District were 19 percent in both subjects while students at Grant Union High School District near Sacramento passed at a rate of 30 and 33 percent, respectively. 
Forty-four youth received graduation diplomas from the N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton earlier this month and those from the O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility, also in Stockton, will receive diplomas in October.
June 22, 2012
Contact: Bill Sessa    (916) 445-4950
Karette Fussell           (805) 485-7951