Successfully Transitioning Youth from Secure Care Back to School

Successfully Transitioning Youth from Secure Care Back to School

You are here

Listen to this program (MP3)

Each year approximately 100,000 young people exit the formal custody of the juvenile justice system.1 This transition—often at a critical time in a youth’s development—can be difficult, and many youth fail to reconnect successfully to school or work,2 end up homeless,3 or are reincarcerated.4 But research has shown that school attendance is a strong protective factor against delinquency and that youth who attend school are much less likely to commit crime in both the short- and long-term.Therefore,  school-age youth’s return to and reengagement in school should be a high priority for States and local entities. Successful transition requires individualized planning from the moment a youth enters secure care, academic and behavioral supports during incarceration, and aftercare supports that help youth succeed following their exit from formal custody.

The second event in NDTAC’s N&D InFocus series examines what it takes to help youth make the transition from secure care to academic success in community schools. The event features agency, facility, and public school staff sharing their experiences with successful transitions.

Send us your questions and comments about this event at

[1] Synder, H. N. (2004). An Empirical Portrait of the Youth Reentry Population. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 2(1), 39-55.
[2] Bullis, M., Yovanoff, P., Mueller, G., & Havel, E. (2002). Life on the Outs: Examination of the Facility-to-Community Transition of Incarcerated Adolescents. Exceptional Children, 69, 7-22.
[3] G. Owen, J. Heineman and G.M. Decker (2007). Overview of Homelessness in Minnesota 2006: Key Facts from the Statewide Survey. St. Paul, MN: Wilder Research Center. 
[4] Nellis, A. & Wayman, R. H. (2009). Back on Track: Supporting Youth Reentry from Out-of-Home Placement to the Community. Washington, DC: The Sentencing Project. [PDF]


Meet Our Guests

Heather Griller Clark is a Principal Research Specialist at Arizona State University. Her current projects include Project RISE, an OSEP funded Model Demonstration Grant, Learner Outcomes for Merging Two Worlds, a state funded grant, and Conference Director for Teacher Educators for Behavioral Disorders (TECBD). Heather has a passion for working with and on behalf of youth with disabilities in the juvenile justice system. Prior to her current position she has served as: Project Director for the Arizona Detention Transition Project (ADTP), a Research Associate with the National Center on Education, Disability, and Juvenile Justice (EDJJ); a Special Education Teacher at Peoria Accelerated High School; and a Special Education Teacher and Transition Coordinator at the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections. Heather has taught courses for Arizona State University, the University of Phoenix, and the University of West Florida. In addition, she has authored or co-authored over 20 publications and has conducted numerous workshops, presentations, and trainings on a variety of topics related to behavior management, special education, juvenile justice education, and transition.

Judith (Judy) McIntosh is the statewide Transition Specialist with Indiana’s Department of Correction/Division of Youth Services. She has worked for the Department of Correction for over twenty years. Fifteen of those years were spent as an Institutional Teacher. She served three years as an Education Supervisor before moving to her current position in 2011. As the Transition Specialist she provides oversight to all transition activities for incarcerated juveniles. She supports the Department’s efforts to provide services to assist juveniles in making the transition to the world of work and self-sufficiency and enhance coordination with local schools that such juveniles would otherwise attend. In 2013 Judy completed the National Institute of Corrections’ Offender Workforce Development Specialist (OWDS) training program. She views her position as her mission and works to positively impact the lives of Indiana youth.

Marc Kniola has been with IDOC's Division of Youth Services for 10 years. He first served as the Program Director at South Bend Juvenile Correctional Facility for 8 years. He was responsible for creating the Stay SHARP* Substance Abuse Program, which was adopted as DYS’s juvenile substance abuse education program. He also assisted in developing and implementing Why Try as the core DYS treatment program. For the last two years, he has served as the DYS Facility Program Director at central office. He helps manage program development, implementation, and review; the comprehensive case management system; and mental health/treatment integration at all four juvenile correctional facilities. He also provides treatment department training and support. Prior to the DOC, he created and implemented programming for Rehab Services at Swanson Center in Michigan City, IN and was as a visiting professor of English at Purdue University North Central.

Chris Black has worked at Logansport Juvenile for almost 9 years, where she feels students show their true potential in attending school. She believes you get what you give and a raised voice will surely close the ears of a teenager. She strives to treat all of the youth she works with respect. To her, they are someone’s son, grandson, or brother. Chris would want her family treated nicely also. In her work, Chris does not read a youth’s committing offense, but instead makes her own opinion of them. Everyone has made mistakes and Chris will help them anyway she can; and the youth she works with know it.

Lindsey Pounds, Program Coordinator at Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility, has been with the Department of Correction for four years. In her time with the department she has developed a system aimed toward helping students prepare for a successful re-entry. She enjoys designing and implementing new programs and has a passion for facilitating groups, workshops and trainings. In 2012 Lindsey completed the National Institute of Corrections’ Offender Workforce Development Specialist (OWDS) training program. From there she went on to become certified as an instructor (OWDS-I) and facilitator for the OWDS program. In addition to her work with Logansport Juvenile, Lindsey recently began working for PEN part-time. She enjoys the variation of roles in working with juvenile and adult offenders. Her goal is to make a positive impact on the lives of the offenders she works with, and to show them that there is hope for a better, brighter future.

Dorothy (Dottie) Wodraska is currently the Director of Juvenile Transition for the Maricopa County Education Service Agency. Her responsibilities include developing and leading Transforming Juveniles Through Successful Transition (TJST) a collaborative system that supports seamless transitions in order to meet the educational and social needs of youth involved in the juvenile justice system. She also administers Federal Grants Programs related to the transition initiative.

Angie Pogue is currently the Director of Literacy & Prevention for Maricopa County Education Service Agency. She has an M.Ed. in Elementary Education with and emphasis in K-12 Reading. Her responsibilities include establishing partnerships with schools that will accept and support the educational needs of youth involved in the juvenile justice systems as they return to the community, and supporting the schools through grant writing and programs to enhance the educational success of the youth.

Brian Patterson has served Ombudsman Education Services for 10 years as an impactful teacher, site director and Director of Leadership and Student Engagement. He has an M Ed in Education with Emphasis in Quality Schools and is a member of the faculty of the William Glasser Institute, with certification in Reality Therapy. He is now a consultant for educational institutions and corporations, instructing leaders in the implementation of Quality Schools and Lead Management.

Event Date

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 2:00PM to 3:00PM EDT