Juvenile Justice in Oklahoma

Just like anyone else, youth with disabilities can come into contact with the criminal justice system.

In Oklahoma, the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) is the state agency that provides prevention, education, and treatment services as well as secure facilities for juveniles involved in the criminal justice system.

Juvenile Justice and Youth with disabilities – Why is it important?

One study reports that 65 to 70 percent of youth involved with the justice system have a disability—that is three times higher than the rate compared to youth without disabilities. Youth with disabilities are being incarcerated at higher rates than their non-disabled peers!

Research Shows – Education Matters!


Research has shown that one of the best ways to help youth in juvenile placement settings achieve successful outcomes is to provide them with education and a path to successful employment.


Education and Youth with Disabilities – What you need to know?

Over the next few months, the OPC will be updating this webpage to include more and more information.  Please check back often!

Student’s Right to Special Education in Juvenile Detention

Adapted April 2021

The following provides information about youth rights to special education while in juvenile detention.  It was adapted from the Disability Rights California publication from Aug 1, 2020, #7158.01, Student’s Right to Special Education in Juvenile Detention.

Here, the term ‘juvenile detention facilities’ refers to county juvenile halls, youth correctional facilities, and juvenile camps. The term ‘court schools’ refers to the schools serving or within those facilities.  If you see a citation, please use your Internet browser search bar to see the full code or regulation.

The Oklahoma Parents Center (OPC) is a nonprofit organization that provides information, training, individual assistance, and resources. The OPC is not a law firm or legal service agency, and as such, the information contained in this publication is provided for the purpose of informing, but should not be considered legal advice. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.

Yes. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), every child with a disability between the ages of 3 and 21 is entitled to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment, including those in a juvenile detention center. [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1412(a)(1)].

Juvenile and youth detention centers must provide special education and related services. The education and services must meet the student’s individual needs. All students with disabilities in the juvenile correctional system are entitled to be assessed for special education and qualify for protections under state and federal law.

The following are some differences between special education inside a juvenile detention facility and special education in the community.

Preparing to address these differences may help to ensure you or your child receives the education they need inside juvenile detention.

Delays in transferring records can delay the implementation of an IEP or the provision of special education!

The transfer of educational records can sometimes delay the implementation of a student’s IEP within a juvenile court school.

Families can prepare for this possibility by obtaining students’ records. Both state and federal law provide parents with the right to inspect and review educational records. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.613].

Requesting your child’s records can help to provide a school within a juvenile facility records without delay.

A student without an IEP may enter and leave a facility before the completion of assessments.

Students in juvenile facilities often receive short sentences or are only in facilities pending adjudication, or until their court cases are decided. In the case of these short stays, a court school may begin the special education assessment planning process but fail to complete it before the student is released to the community.

The IDEA requires that “[a]ssessments of children with disabilities who transfer from one public agency to another in the same school year are coordinated with those children’s prior and subsequent schools, as necessary and as expeditiously as possible[.]” [20 U.S.C. Sec.

1414(b)(3)(D); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.304(c)(5)].

If your child will leave a facility before their assessments are complete, it may be helpful to contact staff within the facility or to convene an IEP meeting to discuss how the assessments will be completed.

A juvenile facility may suggest that limited space, staff, or other resources prevent them from providing special education or the provision of related services.

Space, staffing, or funding issues aside, schools within juvenile facilities are required to provide special education and to provide related services consistent with students’ IEPs. [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1412(a)(1)]. Similarly, schools within juvenile detention centers must provide education in the least restrictive environment, which means that students with disabilities must participate in education with their nondisabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate. [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1412(a)(5)(A)].

Yes. Like public schools, juvenile court schools are required to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities who may need special education and related services. [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1412(a)(3)(A); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.111].

Yes. A juvenile court school is required to provide special education and related services. It is also required to update a student’s IEP as appropriate. Juvenile court schools, just as neighborhood schools, are also required to provide progress reporting on IEP goals to parents while the student is in juvenile detention.


A student should still receive related services like Speech and Language, Counseling, or Occupational Therapy in a juvenile detention center.


Eligible students with disabilities in juvenile detention are still entitled to received related services. Related services are designed to ensure that they benefit from their educational program.


If a student already has IEP services when entering juvenile detention, the facility must provide comparable services to those described in the student’s IEP until the juvenile court school either adopts the previous IEP, or develops a new IEP for the student. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.323].

When placed in juvenile detention, the school must hold a transfer IEP meeting within 30 days. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.323].

IEP meetings can also be called on an as-needed basis by the parent.

Parents are still required members of the IEP and hold all rights under the IDEA when the student is in juvenile detention, unless a court has limited their rights or the student turns 18 years old. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.322].

Parents must be allowed to attend the IEP meeting.

If neither parent can attend an IEP meeting, the juvenile court school must still try to ensure parent participation, including by conference telephone calls. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.322(c); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.328]. The juvenile court school must ensure that the parents understand IEP meeting proceedings—this includes arranging for an interpreter for parents with deafness or whose native language is other than English. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.322(e))].

Parents must also be allowed to bring an attorney to the IEP meeting. [34

C.F.R. Sec. 300.321(a); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.322(a)]. Other individuals, including advocates, may also attend IEP meetings at the discretion of the parent or school if such individual has knowledge or special expertise regarding the student. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.321(a)(6)]. The determination of the knowledge or special expertise of these individuals must be made by the person who invited the individual to be a member of the IEP team. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.321(c)].

Students with disabilities in juvenile detention should also participate as a member of the IEP team. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.321(a)(7)]. Student participation can significantly assist the IEP team in identifying student’s needs.

Yes, juvenile detention facilities must evaluate youth with disabilities for special education. [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1412(a)(3)(A); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.111]. The same procedures described above in section 4 apply.

Even when a student is only in juvenile detention for a short time, the facility must still begin the evaluation process. The facility must coordinate with the school district that the student will attend when exiting juvenile detention to ensure completion of the evaluation. [34 C.F.R. Sec.

300.304(c)(5)]. However, please note that the timeframe for completing this evaluation is less clear: the assessment must be completed “as expeditiously as possible.” [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.304(c)(5)].

Typically, assessments must be completed within 60-days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.301(c)]. This time frame does not apply if the student transfers districts mid-assessment. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.301(d)(2)]. However, the school district the students transfers to must make “sufficient progress to ensure a prompt completion of the evaluation” and must arrange with the parent “a specific time when the evaluation will be completed.” [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.301(e)].

Yes, under the IDEA, transition planning must occur in the first IEP meeting held after the student reaches the age of 16 or earlier if appropriate for the student. [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(VII); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.320(b)].

Transition planning includes identifying the student’s goals upon their completion of high school, including education and employment goals. [34

C.F.R. Sec. 300.43]. Transition services may include career training through organizations designed to serve juvenile justice involved youth. Remember, the transition services must be individually designed for each student, based on the student’s goals. You may include re-entry related goals and services as part of the transition planning in a student’s IEP.


INDIVIDUAL CAREER ACADEMIC PLANNING (ICAP) The term ICAP refers to both a process that helps students engage in academic andcareer development activities and a product

Transition Resources that Work!

Independent Futures that Work (IFTW) is designed to help in the successful transition of youth and young adults from high school into the next stage

Juvenile Justice in Oklahoma

Just like anyone else, youth with disabilities can come into contact with the criminal justice system. In Oklahoma, the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) is