A Synthesis of Academic Interventions for Incarcerated Adolescents

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Review of Educational Research

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This article contains a synthesis of academic intervention studies conducted between 1970 and 2012 with adolescents who were incarcerated in residential juvenile correctional facilities. Literacy, mathematics, written expression, and multicomponent interventions were included if they measured effects on at least one academic outcome measure. Of the 16 studies synthesized, 7 studies employed an experimental or quasi-experimental design, 4 used a single-case design, and 5 used a single-group design. Because the results are restricted due to methodological limitations and a general lack of research in this area, we discuss the existing gaps in the literature and explore initial findings using these 16 studies. Results suggest the potential of implementing explicit, targeted, academic interventions that have previously shown promise with adolescents in the general school setting (e.g., peer-mediated instruction). Implications and guidance for future research regarding effective delivery of evidence-based practices for adolescents in the incarcerated setting are discussed.