The National Center on Education, Disability and Juvenile Justice



The National Center on Education, Disability and Juvenile Justice

Summary of Class-Action Litigation Involving Special Education Claims in Juvenile and Adult Correctional Facilities

For best use of the litigation summary, please read the information below before viewing.

To view the summary now click here (PDF).

EDJJ prepared the "Summary of Class Action Litigation Involving Special Education Claims in Juvenile and Adult Correctional Facilities" to disseminate information to advocates, policy makers, and educators. The Litigation Chart includes highlighted links to legal briefs, settlements and other materials for a number of the cases.

The adequacy of special education services for youth incarcerated in juvenile correctional facilities has frequently been the subject of class-action litigation in a number of jurisdictions across the country. More recently, class-action litigation involving special education services has also involved juveniles incarcerated in adult correctional facilities. Many class-action correctional cases are resolved by settlement agreements or consent decrees, and information about the special education claims involved in those suits is often not widely available.

Many correctional facilities provide appropriate education and special education services for incarcerated youth. However, increased awareness about the entitlements to special education for incarcerated youth, will contribute to more effective correctional educational programs. For more information about correctional education and the needs of incarcerated youth, visit the Prevention, Education Programming, Transition, Publications, and Links pages on this website.

EDJJ does not offer legal advice. We have made every effort to display all relevant class-action cases, and to provide accurate information about the special education claims in those cases. We will continue to update this case summary listing. We welcome your suggestions about the summary and about additional cases involving special education. You can contact EDJJ at

Terms used in the class-action litigation summary chart are defined briefly below:

Class-action litigation
When the facts and defendants are similar, courts may certify a group of different persons as a "class", allowing them to combine their lawsuits as a class action. This is designed to allow a judge to hear all the cases at the same time and to make one decision binding on all parties.

Detention Facility
Detention facilities are correctional facilities that confine juveniles pending court action, or juveniles who are detained pending other placements or committed for relatively short periods.

Training School
Training schools are long-term juvenile correctional facilities that confine youth after their adjudication by the courts.

Right to treatment
These claims concern the adequacy of treatment provided to incarcerated individuals, such as mental health and medical care.

General conditions
These claims concern the adequacy of the conditions of confinement in correctional facilities.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C., 1400 et seq.; P.L.105-17; originally P.L. 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children's Act of 1975) is federal legislation requiring that eligible children and youth with disabilities receive free appropriate public education (FAPE) including special education and related services. Through the spending power of Congress, and corresponding state statutes or regulations, IDEA mandates that states receiving federal support for education of students with disabilities ensure that all eligible students receive FAPE. All states and the District of Columbia currently receive funding under IDEA.

Internet Links

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C.; P.L. 93-112), is a federal civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination against persons with handicaps by any program or activity that receives federal funds, including public school systems and correctional facilities. Youth with disabilities who do not meet eligibility requirements for special education and related services under the IDEA, may qualify within Section 504 guidelines.

Internet Links

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