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Lt. Gov. Coleman, Department of Juvenile Justice hold commencement ceremony for youth graduates

Department is enhancing public safety and reducing recidivism through quality educational opportunities

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 27, 2022) – Today, Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman and the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) held a commencement ceremony to celebrate 48 youth receiving their high school diplomas for the 2021-2022 academic year and an additional 9 youth for earning their GED while in DJJ custody or care.

“Education is the key to building a bright future across our commonwealth and I want to thank the teachers and facility staff of DJJ for their investment this past school year in the leaders of tomorrow," said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “To all our graduates, the education you earned is the foundation needed for you to create transformational change for you and your family. I look forward to watching all that you will accomplish."

For the 2021-2022 academic year, educational services were provided to DJJ youth through both a virtual platform and in-person instruction as one of many steps taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19DJJ educational programs adhere to all Kentucky state requirements and each facility complies with local school district plans to meet the Kentucky Academic Standards according to 704 KAR 3:303. Students receive 6.0 hours of classroom instruction per day per KRS 158.060 (3) and teachers on staff at DJJ are fully certified according to Kentucky Professional Standards Board.

DJJ Commissioner Vicki Reed said educational programming is an essential component to the rehabilitation services youth receive in a facility setting. “Our department is committed to fostering and investing in the life of each youth who walks through our doors so not only do they not return, they become a more productive citizen, able to enter the workforce and support their own families in the future. Each youth should leave us better than they came. Today, these 57 graduates are ready to take on the next chapter of their lives and succeed."

Additionally, youth residents earned a total of 91 vocational certificates during the 2021-2022 academic year. Vocational opportunities available include: Building and Apartment Maintenance/Carpentry, Building and Apartment Maintenance/Electrical, Welding, Masonry, Horticulture, Business, Computer Training, Fiber Optics, Copper Cabling, Home Audio, Energy Management, Telecom and Grounding and Bonding.

Any youth in DJJ custody who earns a high school diploma, is given the opportunity to earn ACT WorkKeys, attend online college courses, participate in work experience when applicable, or take vocational and technical classes.

About the Department of Juvenile Justice

The Department of Juvenile Justice is an agency within the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet responsible for prevention programs for at-risk youth, court intake, pre-trial detention, residential placement and treatment services, probation, community aftercare, and reintegration programs, as well as the confinement of youth awaiting adult placement or court. The Department strives to promote a comprehensive array of cost-effective services for at-risk youth. These services are directed toward preventing delinquency, providing efficient rehabilitation services, and altering the rate of recidivism with appropriate aftercare while minimizing risk to the community.​