On any given day, there are approximately 60,000 incarcerated youth. National educational and workforce data on currently and formerly incarcerated youth is limited, but many studies conclude that youth in the juvenile justice system face significant barriers once released from custody:
- At least 1 in 3 incarcerated youth is identified as needing or already receiving special education services, a rate nearly four times higher than youth attending school in the community.
- Youth that are incarcerated have fewer vocational skills and opportunities, which leaves them with limited or no job experience.
- Approximately 70% of formerly incarcerated youth have a learning disability that can hinder them from returning to school or seeking employment.
- Incarcerated youth can face systemic discrimination, as many employers and postsecondary programs can perceive them as less reliable and workforce ready.