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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
Editor's Note: To see photos from today's event, click here. Credit – Department of Juvenile Justice's Communications Office

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 13, 2021) – Today, Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman and the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) held a commencement ceremony to celebrate 52 youth high school graduates for the 2020-2021 academic year and an additional 6 youth for earning a GED, while in DJJ custody or care.

"Every Kentuckian has the right to quality education," said Lt. Gov. Coleman. "Today, we celebrate the young people from DJJ who earned their high school diploma or GED, as well as recognize the passion and investment of the DJJ and school staff. I am enthusiastic about the potential displayed by each of these young people; their educational achievements are the spring board to success in their lives."

For the 2020-2021 academic year, educational services were provided to DJJ youth through a virtual platform, in addition to in-person instruction, as one of many steps taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within institutions.

DJJ educational programs adhere to all Kentucky state requirements and each facility complies with the local school district's plan 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.

Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Deputy Secretary Ronnie Bastin said that educational programming is directed toward preventing delinquency, providing efficient rehabilitation services and altering the rate of recidivism with appropriate aftercare while minimizing risk to the community. "Empowering our youth with the necessary tools and positivity that help them grow into strong, knowledgeable adults that contribute successfully to society is a key part of DJJ's mission. All youth who transfer into DJJ custody that lack a GED or a high school diploma are offered access to programming that enhance their education and future careers, while also providing structure and services to address any trauma or crisis they have experienced which led them to DJJ."

Additionally, youth residents earned a total of 142 vocational certificates during the 2020-2021 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.

For any youth in DJJ custody who had already earned a high school diploma, they are 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 under 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 prevented delinquency, providing efficient rehabilitation services, and altering the rate of recidivism with appropriate aftercare while minimizing risk to the community.