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Physical education programs in male juvenile offender facilities--part I: a descriptive view.


This paper is the first of a two part series, utilizing the program portrayal model of Olson's (1980) qualitative research methodology. Overall, an investigation was conducted to assess the perceptions of superintendents, principals, and physical educators, recreation directors, and physical training directors, (N = 30) concerning the administration and delivery of physical education programs within 10 male secured juvenile justice agency facilities in Texas. Part I provides descriptive information about the physical education programs in one state's male juvenile offender confinement/incarceration facilities. Information included provides the reader with an explanation of federal, state, and agency legislation and guidelines that support physical education programming for juvenile offender youth.

Key words: confinement, incarceration, inmate, juvenile offender, legislation, physical education, physical training, recreation (107 words)


The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (18) one-day census count of all juvenile offenders in public or private residential facilities in the United States registered approximately 109,000 youth in residence. Though age ranges vary per state, detainment practices of juvenile offenders in these facilities range between the ages of 10 and 21 years.

The state of Texas, second to only California, had the largest juvenile justice confinement system in the United States, with approximately 6,900 boys and girls, ages 10 to 20 years, in state-operated institutions or contracted care placements. As of May of 2000, 3800 juveniles were being held in secure correctional lock-up facilities throughout the state (19). There are a total of 15 long term locked or secure facilities within the Texas Youth Commission (TYC). Part I of this investigation included obtaining descriptive information of current physical education program practices that exist within 10 juvenile offender male incarceration/confinement facilities in the TYC.

Confinement in any incarceration/correctional facility may have a detrimental impact on the ultimate outcome of an individual's development (15) including physical and motor development. Taylor (29) stated, "Fostering positive mental, emotional, and physical development is an integral part of the juvenile corrections process. However, contemporary circumstances have shifted the focus from children in trouble to menacing youth whom the public should fear" (p. 2). Despite juvenile corrections personnel's efforts to foster positive mental, emotional, and physical development, these programs may actually prevent positive growth experiences.

Others corroborate Taylor's sentiment concerning developmental issues of confined youth. Meltzer et. al. (11) and Hawkins (6) identified combinations or multiple domains of risk while in confinement that included education, development, and health.

Hitchcock (8) identified the need to examine the effects of physical activity with confined/incarcerated populations. He advocated a "distinguish between recreation per se and health-related physical activity" is essential and further urged "it is the responsibility of society as a whole, and the criminal justice and exercise physiology communities specifically, to establish the minimum quantity and quality of exercise necessary for the maintenance of positive health among inmate populations" (p.88).

Enrollment in some form of a structured physical education program is of utmost importance to individual developmental needs. Presently though, very little information is known about physical education programs for juvenile offender youth in confinement.

Students in incarceration/correctional facilities are entitled to a continuing education process on immediate removal from the regular education program regardless of where they reside, or are confined (1, 10, 23, 24, 32). It is believed that the formal learning process should not and cannot cease because of placement into an alternative education setting. These alternative education programs are placements that are clearly distinguishable from the general school program (10). Alternative education settings can range from local in-school suspension to out-of-school county juvenile justice alternative education programs, as well as an array of state public and private juvenile justice agency correctional education lock-up facilities. Warboys and Shauffer (32) clarified the phrase "place of residence or confinement" to include prisons, training schools, detention centers, local jails, correctional or therapeutic camp programs, group homes, or any other type of correctional facility. Warboys and Shauffer further reported that correctional administrators have been slow to realize that there are legal bases that apply to students in the juvenile justice agency schools or confinement facilities.

Legislation Impacting Physical Education for Juvenile Offenders

The legal bases that apply to these youth are specific laws that are comprehensive and systematically organized. The following is a brief synopsis of the laws that have direct application to physical education practices in juvenile offender facilities in the United States.

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJPD) Act of 1974 Public Law (PL 93-415, 42 U.S.C. 5601 et seq.) and subsequent amendments have traditionally adhered to a bureaucratic punitive stance. Since the late 1980s, a philosophical switch to emphasize treatment and rehabilitation of juvenile offender youth through a variety of programs and services has existed. Central to the philosophical change was the United States Congress' mandate for facilities to deinstitutionalize offenders from juvenile detention and correctional facilities.

For more than 25 years, the principles of rehabilitation by the JJDP Act have stipulated various programs be developed and implemented. In support of this, the JJDP Act, Subchapter I: 42 U.S.C. 5601 [section] 101 has tremendous meaning for implementation of recreation programs. It states the incidence of juvenile delinquency can be reduced through public recreation programs and activities designed to provide youth with social skills, enhance self-esteem, and encourage the constructive use of discretionary time.

This investigator has inferred the term "recreation" to be analogous or serves as the counterpart to physical education. The term, within corrections, entails a variety of "highly physical recreation" activities that aligns or matches a physical education curriculum (9, p. 24). The reader is reminded to replace the term "recreation" with "physical education."

With rehabilitation as the central theme of the JJDP Act, a law that aligns directly with this Act and has tremendous importance concerning physical education activities is, PL 93-112, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504. This law specifically addresses civil rights enforcement of agencies with any school programs or policies accepting, receiving, or benefiting from federal money. It ensures that all individuals, regardless of the severity or level of involvement of a disability, are entitled to equal opportunity for a free and appropriate public education and rehabilitative services to achieve the same results as non-disabled individuals. This includes those individuals with disabilities in confinement facilities. An assurance of equal and effective services for individuals with disabilities are followed through by offering educational services that are (a) at least equal to non-disabled peers services, (b) aimed at hiring qualified teachers to provide the appropriate instructional needs, and (c) fulfilled with the instruction of those services in the most non-isolated or segregated place (27).

When applied to physical education, provisions of the law protect individuals that previously are not covered, recognized, or appear to not fit under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (5). It specifically assures that no student may be expelled from school for actions that stem from the disability. The services should be provided in alternative settings only to the extent the disability requires.

Three basic principles have evolved from Section 504 as it is applied to athlete's participation in regular sport programs: (a) necessary accommodations should be made to protect against discriminatory playing rules, (b) does not allow an unfair advantage to athletes with disabilities to occur, and (c) does not place non-disabled competitors at a disadvantage. French, Henderson, Kinnison, and Sherrill (5) stipulated that participation for individuals with disabilities is dependent upon (a) the ability of the individual to perform the activity, (b) the safety of the individual with a disability, and (c) the safety of the other participants in the activity.

Another law that expanded the concepts of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is PL 101-336 of 1990, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law is divided into five different titled areas. It protects against discrimination against individuals with disabilities solely based on the disability in the areas of employment, public accommodations, transportation services, government services at the local and state level, and telecommunication relay services. The act extends to privately operated public accommodations that must be accessible to individuals with disabilities.

In Title II of this Act the development of necessary skills in physical education that individuals with disabilities need to pursue community-based activities (i.e., to satisfy transition goals and objectives) are addressed. ADA mandated exciting changes that improved accessibility of physical education, recreation and outdoor pursuits as well as leisure activities for individuals with disabilities. It supports involvement of individuals with disabilities in privately sponsored youth sport activities and programs. It also allows private groups to use public facilities.

Hays (7) outlined the responsibilities schools and school districts have to uphold the federal laws. There are often exceptions applied to these laws. An exception that impacts juvenile offender youth and the Rehabilitation Act as well as in the ADA is the exclusion of participation by individuals whose disability stems from illegal drug use. A large number of juvenile offender youth enter the juvenile justice system with chemical dependencies and substance abuse issues (18). However, rather than be eliminated from participation, Section 504 requires the provision of a free and appropriate public education (7). This allows youth around the nation to have opportunity to participate in physical education programming and sports. The three laws included in this section have direct impact on physical education programs for juvenile offenders in the United States.

Agency Policy Impacting Physical Education for Juvenile Offender Youth

The American Correctional Association (ACA) supports policy and agency standards for the juvenile and adult incarceration populations. Founded in 1870, as the National Prison Association, it is the oldest association developed for practitioners and correctional effectiveness for those in the correctional profession. A Declaration of Principles serves as a philosophy of corrections and acknowledges the important role the community and society contributes to the rehabilitation of individuals in confined settings.

Juvenile offender youth facilities in the United States as well as throughout North America adhere to the ACA Standards, Part V: Juvenile Services: [section] F: Recreation and Activities. The policies and program procedures of the six standards govern (a) facilities' recreation and activities, (b) program coordination and supervision, (c) facilities and equipment, (d) community interaction, and (e) activities which can be initiated by juveniles. Policies and program procedures are designed around meeting these standards to ensure that facilities remain in compliance.

Founded in 1966, historically the National Correctional Recreation Association (NCRA) has been instrumental in the organization and implementation of various recreation programs. The NCRA also adopted the term recreation to encompass various physical education activities as well as leisure activities within confinement facilities. Correctional recreation leaders and custody officers who have interests in sports and competitions (i.e., baseball, football, to directing programs in weight lifting in gymnasiums and facility yards) organized themselves for purposes of educational gain and mutual support (16). NCRA members work within all levels of correctional recreation that include facilities and programming on the federal, state, and local levels. This organization now boasts membership from a variety of disciplines, professionals, and practitioners ranging from juvenile, medical, and community-based facilities (16).

Despite the efforts of the NCRA, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care announced that incarcerated youth represent an especially vulnerable population whose lives are at high risk for illness and disability (15). In 1998, the NCCHC recommended that correctional and health staff responsible for the supervision and treatment of adolescents, receive orientation information and ongoing training regarding the unique health, developmental, and educational needs of these youth.

In 1988, the United States Congress authorized the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to assess the living conditions of juvenile offender youth in confinement. It was the goal of Congress to determine the extent that juvenile offender facilities utilized recognized national and professional standards so recommendations could be made to improve living conditions. Twelve identified components which juvenile offender youth were currently living within were: (a) living, residential accommodations, and space; (b) health care; (c) food, clothing, and personal hygiene; (d) security; (e) suicidal behavior intervention; (f) facility inspections and emergency preparedness; (g) education; (h) staff discretion limits; (i) treatment practices and services; (j) access to community; and (k) recreation. A variety of new guidelines resulted from recommendations from the assessment of these components.

The most explicit stipulation for juvenile offender youth comes from the OJJDP coupled with the Administration of Juvenile Justice. These drafted polices and programs provide for basic health, mental health, and appropriate education services, including special education. As specified in Standards for the Administration of Juvenile Justice developed by the National Advisory Committee for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention prior to October 12, 1984 [section] 4.218 juvenile justice agencies are to provide Recreational Services. Agency schools are charged to:

"Provide opportunities for exercise and constructive and entertaining leisure-time activity. The opportunities should be in addition to the physical education requirements that may exist under the education laws of the jurisdiction. Activities should be balanced between individual-type and team-type activities of both indoor and outdoor varieties. At least two hours of recreation should be provided on school days and three hours on non-school days, not including unsupervised periods spent primarily in such activities as watching television (20)."

States are challenged to design services based on individual needs of youth in confinement. This policy mandates that juvenile offender youth receive a defined number of hours of recreation; for incarcerated populations that often means and includes a variety of physical education activities.

Special Education Legislation Impacting Physical Education for Juvenile Offender Youth

Reports of the prevalence of disabling conditions among juvenile offender youth vary greatly (14, 24). Estimates from early studies reported juvenile offender youth with disabilities ranged from 30% to more than 60% of the total juvenile offender youth population (2, 13, 23). More recently, Smith's (26) study of the number of diagnostic characteristics children aged 10 to 17 years in detention in New Mexico revealed the following juveniles with (a) conduct disorder and psychosocial stress, 90%, (b) attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, 79%, (c) learning disability, 57%, (d) depression and anxiety, 54%, and (e) suicidal ideation, 46%. Also, the OJJDP (18) suggests that mental health problems are significantly greater for juvenile offender youth than other youth. Annually, approximately 150,000 youth enter the juvenile justice system coping with at least one mental health disorder. Many youth experience co-occurring mental health disorders which are often exacerbated by substance abuse dependencies. As with Smith's (26) results, the ACA reported a high percentage of juvenile offenders have conduct disorders.

Though the discrepancy in numbers of youth with disabilities does exist, it is vital to understand the legislation that impacts the education programs of these youth. There are codified laws that have been passed regarding physical education services for individuals with disabilities. These laws have direct applications to the juvenile offenders with disabilities.

First, PL 94-142 of 1975, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA). EAHCA is a historic permanent federal law that provides aid in educational programming for individuals with disabilities and has no expiration date. EAHCA and subsequent amendments as renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, PL 101-476 of 1990) and later amended by IDEA (PL 105-17, 1997), defined physical education as the development of:

"(a) physical and motor fitness, (b) fundamental motor skills and patterns, and (c) skills in aquatics, dance, and individual and group games and sports (including intramural and lifetime sports). The term includes special physical education, adapted physical education, movement education, and motor development (3, p. 42480)."

The application of this law is explicit to physical education. Physical education was the only school subject included as a part of the special education definition of IDEA. Sherrill (28) stated that PL 94-142 "provided the first legal basis for adapted physical education when physical education was included as a segment of the definition for special education" (p. 80). The law ensures the right for participation in a general physical education environment for all students unless full enrollment occurs in a separate facility and education in the regular classroom cannot be achieved satisfactorily (4).

Next, PL 101-476 of 1990, IDEA and the revised Regulations of IDEA, 1999, continue and reiterate previous prerequisites provided in the original PL 94-142. These revised editions serve, not only as a directive, but place an emphasis on actual "policing" of schools to ensure the law is followed (17). The public agency responsible for the education of each child shall provide the services directly or make arrangements for it to be provided through other public or private programs (31). This researcher believes that all juvenile offenders, those with or without a disability, could benefit from inclusion in a structured physical education instructional program designed to address even the most basic of physical development needs. The above-mentioned legislation provides evidence on the federal level that physical education is a mandated curricula content area.

Policy Impacting Physical Education in Individual States

Because physical education is mandated from the federal legislation, schools are required to provide some format of a physical education program. States and local policy makers have the freedom to provide the physical education services in various ways. In each state, the essential physical education curriculum and guidelines should be developed through each respective State Board of Education and available. This document serves as the curriculum guideline for physical education instructors to use that have been developed for grades Kindergarten (K) through 12th grade and are that which instruction in physical education and health are to be based.

Each grade level has established physical education content areas which may include motor skills, age appropriate tumbling and gymnastic skills and routines, rhythm and dance activities, physical and health-related personal fitness/performance, skills, and lead-up activities related to game and sport. The content areas are further categorized with curricula stipulations so students may become competent movers. For students in attendance at the middle and high school grades, content areas are somewhat repetitive of the K through 6 grade content however, other identified areas may include foundations of personal fitness, adventure/outdoor education, aerobic activities, and individual and team sports. There is much leeway given to physical educators who utilize the state curriculum guideline. The curriculum guideline does not provide physical educators with pre-established goals, verbatim content for instruction, or the manner or delivery system to be used, nor is there guidance about behavior management systems and goals.

For students with disabilities it is suggested that the state document be used whenever applicable. In situations where the curriculum may be considered inappropriate, age appropriate and disability specific developmental goals and objectives may be substituted to at least parallel the state curriculum. It is unknown to what extent the juvenile justice facilities utilize the state suggested curriculum for physical education programming and curriculum needs.

Each state juvenile justice agency is responsible for the rehabilitative services and educational programs of juvenile offenders ages 10 to 21 years. These agencies often receive educational funding from the state. Each of the juvenile corrections facilities is recognized as a State Education Agency--certified school program and responsible for meeting legislative requirements. An educational program provided by and in a state prison is a program of a public entity. Offenders are entitled to participate (33). These facilities and the educational programs provided are considered to be the equivalent to educational services provided by public schools; however, area independent school districts are not required to provide special education services to youth in these facilities (7). Juvenile justice agencies educational programs are required to implement any student's individualized education program (IEP) that was in existence prior to confinement. On arrival to the juvenile offender facilities, a new IEP may be developed for implementation within the long-term facility (1, 7).

In the realm of physical education programming, state juvenile justice agencies follow General Administrative Policy Manuals. Within each, a subchapter identifies regulations for physical education programming. Below is an example of such: Chapter .91; Subchapter A: Basic Services; Rule .17 Structured Activity/Recreation, specifies rule, purpose, and management requirements to follow to implement any sort of physical education program. The purpose of GAP .91.17 (30) is:

"To provide for and require participation in structured activity and/or recreation programs for all youth in residential facilities as a vital and essential aspect of individual development and as opportunity for appropriate social interaction. To provide activities that expends energy and allows physical and psychological release for youth and to promote interaction with the community."

The management requirements state a qualified recreation director shall plan, organize, and supervise activities including sports, fitness, and seasonal/special activities. Programming to teach the youth basic water safety/swimming can also be offered.

The manual standards identify what is basically a physical education program under the guise of structured activity and/or recreation.

Few researchers have examined how confinement may influence the physical and motor development of individuals or how physical education programs are conducted within juvenile offender facilities. This researcher has identified legislation at the federal level, recognized agency policies that direct juvenile offender facility practices, acknowledged special education legislation under which youth in correctional facilities are under the auspices, and explained current state legislation which impacts physical education for juvenile offender youth.


This researcher investigated the perceptions of the Texas Youth Commission personnel toward the administration and delivery system of physical education instructional programs and curriculum for male juvenile offenders. This broad question was posed, "What are the juvenile justice agency personnel perceptions concerning physical education programs for male juvenile offender youth?" The research of Mendell and Kidd (12) and Schleien and O'Morrow (25) was replicated to report the descriptive information so a clearer picture of how one states male juvenile offender personnel, program, and facilities satisfy federal, state, and agency policies and regulations is provided.


An intact group sampling design was used of juvenile offender agency personnel. Participants were personnel who (a) held the position of Superintendent ([] = 9), (b) Principal ([] = 8), and (c) Physical Educator, Recreation Director, or Physical Training Director ([] = 12) at one of the juvenile offender facility schools; and (d) were employed in one of 10 juvenile offender secured facilities were selected for the study. Participants ([] = 30; females 10 and males 20) ranged in age from 26 to 63 years, [] = 44.5, [] = 18.5. Participants' years of experience with juvenile offenders a ranged from 1.5 to 28 years, [] = 14.8, [] = 25.1. Years participants had been working at present or a similar position range between 0.05 to 40 years, [] = 20.0, [] = 33.4. The descriptive data analysis and information were garnered from responses to a Participant Demographic Information Questionnarie (Appendices A: Superintendents; Appendices B: Principals; and Appendices C: Physical Educators, Recreation Directors, and Physical Training Directors), as well as, observations/field notes and documents of the TYC system retrieved by the primary investigator.


Texas Youth Commission Agency

First statistics from information obtained from the TYC (30) agency is shared followed by data from the completed research from this investigation. Osburn (21) stated TYC is the juvenile corrections agency of Texas and responsible for youth who have been committed to the state's custody. The agency utilizes a rehabilitation model titled "Resocialization." The goal of the model is to increase personal accountability of the youth by removing opportunities for delinquent acts and to provide skills that will enable youth to make pro-social choices. The intention of Resocialization is to assist youth in changing behaviors to be successful upon leaving confinement. The model is constructed from four components: (a) Correctional Therapy, (b) Discipline Training, (c) Work, and (d) Education. Each of the four components contains five levels that must be completed prior to advancing. Youth progress at different rates and must demonstrate specific competencies in all model tasks before release or release to a less restricted phase.

Within the Correctional Therapy component, youth must recognize feelings that are connected to specific behaviors. It is the philosophy of the correctional therapy cornerstone that youth be accountable for their crimes. In this phase, youth must attend group meetings, wear uniforms, move in military style formation, practice courtesy and good manners and comply with all rules.

The Discipline Training component actively engages youth in the basic discipline of a 16-hour day schedule that includes physical fitness preparedness. Schedules do vary, however, and are often structured as 15 to 30-minute blocks from rising at 5:30 am. to retiring at 9:30 pm. An example of activities in the 16-hour regimen consists of wake-up, dorm cleanup/personal hygiene, breakfast, school, lunch, core group session, transition, dinner, physical training, behavior group session, structured activities, showers, and bed.

Arrival to the TYC system, youth are informed of the "responsibility to participate in the recreational and/or physical training program" (30, p. 2) while in residency. Youth do not have a choice regarding participation in physical education. "All kids participate unless they have a medical release from a doctor" (22, p. 2).

The participants in this investigation repeatedly shared the connection of physical education, recreation, and physical training programs to that of the Discipline Cornerstone. Rather than being fully aligned with the Education Component under the auspices of a physical education curriculum, it became evident the use of physical education/physical activity was not only for physical activity, but often to provide the foundation of the Discipline Cornerstone. To summarize this mindset, Roberts (22) may have said it best that a new ideology of punishment and accountability through the removal of freedom and privileges from the agency schools focus on corrections rather than recreation.

Youth are taught the true essence of Work. In this cornerstone, youth perform all work duties with staff supervision. To instill a good working ethic, throughout the day youth are responsible to clean the dorms or cells, and assist with chores such as laundry, lawn mowing and kitchen cleanup. Various facilities offer training in trade skills. Participants of this investigation contributed that some youth's assignments included supervised work details in the storage and sanitation of athletic equipment to upkeep and preparation of athletic fields.

All committed youth were enrolled in the cornerstone component of Education. This incorporates academic and career technology education via a back-to-the-basics approach. The youth are exposed to principles that include (a) appropriate classroom behavior, (b) respect for the authority of a teacher and (c) capability of learning by all youth. While in the system an educational assessment is compiled so educational and vocational goals are established. Youth attend school approximately 6 hours a day as well as counseling/group therapy the other 6 hours. School is in session year-round. Each facility had an established specialized treatment focus. Youth were assessed and placed in a specialized treatment facility based on need to ensure the most benefit while in the program.

The on-site school classes and education is identified as an essential part of the program. Upon intake, youth were assessed in areas of (a) family and religion, (b) school achievement or level, (c) substance abuse screening, (d) physical and dental examinations, (e) psychologist or psychiatrist interviews, (f) Resocialization Phase objectives, as well as, (g) career and recreation interests.

A collection of information assists in the construction of education goals. In general, the education curriculum consists of course work in reading, language, math, science, social studies, and computer technology. Youth may benefit from enrollment in (a) special education, (b) remedial classes, (c) English as a second language, (d) prevocational or vocational, and finally, (e) advanced academic course. Youth may receive a high school diploma or a general education diploma (GED).

All of these components constitute the TYC Individualized Case Plan (ICP). The plan documents each youth's strengths and concerns or needs. Objectives are identified and aligned with the agency's Resocialization Program. Objectives within the IPC are meant to be comprehensive to address effectively issues of the youth's type of (a) offense committed and past history, (b) past and daily behavior(s), (c) educational needs, vocational interests, and employment needs, (d) special treatment program assessments, and (e) parole success upon re-entry to the community. Each youth must complete the agency plan to exit from the system. The IPC is reviewed by staff on a regular basis and family/guardians periodically receive a copy of the document.

This investigator recognized a parallel between the agency's Individualized Case Plan (ICP) and that of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The IEP is the federal document developed by a multidisciplinary team for students with disabilities in any school that receives federal funds. The ICP appears to be an even more comprehensive plan to attempt successfully to assist in the complexities, both personal and educational, as each juvenile offender youth arrives in the system.

The Setting

At the time of this investigation, each facility had a superintendent, principal, and teachers/personnel who delivered the physical education program. Facility enrollment capabilities in the 10 male facilities ranged between 128 to 544 males; with one facility's intake designated to increase to over 670 males. The average number of male youth housed per facility was 360. The average length of stay per youth in the system was approximately two years. One facility served as the receiving and intake facility for the state. It was not included in the study.

Youth Characteristics

This agency houses the state's most serious or chronically delinquent offenders. The State of Texas allows youth to be confined between the ages of 10 to 17, however, youth as old as 21 were in the agency system. The population composition consists of youth offenders coming from both urban and rural communities committed by a median age of 16 years. Youth are confined for a variety of lesser charges or crimes as chronic truancy, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, burglary, theft, drug offenses, arson, to more serious charges as deadly conduct, assault (simple, aggravated, sexual), indecency, weapons, injury to others, murder, capital murder, manslaughter, terrorist threats, to kidnapping (aggravated), and other offenses.

Though this investigation focused on the male facilities, within the system three facilities house female juvenile offenders. The female population is the fastest growing proportion consisting of approximately 10% of the total population (30). Those three female facilities and personnel was the focus of the pilot study for this investigation. The agency identified 90% of the total population as male.

The three largest ethnic group representations resulted in, four out of 10 youth or 40% were Hispanic. One in three or 34% were African-American and one in four or 25% were Anglo-Saxon. Over half (52%) of the TYC offenders were drug-dependent and provided drug treatment. According to TYC documentation, approximately 44% are youth with severe emotional disturbance and are enrolled in special education classes. Median reading and math achievement levels were approximately at the 5th/6th grade level--an average of four to five years behind their age-matched peers. The average youth intelligent quotient (IQ) was below the mean score of 100 (77%). Three of four offenders come from chaotic, abusive or neglectful home environments having a history of being abused or neglected and have parents who never married or who divorced or separated. Over half come from low-income backgrounds. Many youth have families with histories of criminal behavior as well as family members with mental disabilities. Approximately 41% of youth admit to gang membership and involvement. Almost 60% of youth were previously in juvenile court on two or more felony-level offenses prior to commitment.

The TYC system houses many youth with intensive and specialized treatment needs. The specialized treatment programs identified youth as (a) Capital Offender Program, or those committed for certain violent crimes, 45%, (b) Sex Offender Treatment, youth committed for certain sexual offenses, 34%, (c) Substance Abuse Treatment, those assessed as chemically dependent, 38%, and (d) Mental Health Programs, youth with emotional problems or mental illness, 34%. Administrators in the TYC system acknowledged "a lack of correctional resources prevents TYC from providing specialized treatment to all juveniles with identified needs."

Within the Fiscal Years 1995-1999, according to the Commitment Profile Report from the agency office dated February 1999, the incidence of juveniles with disabilities that qualified for special education services were: (a) individuals within the entire TYC population, 41%, and those with specific disabilities of (b) juveniles with emotional disturbances, 20%, (c) juveniles with learning disabilities, 19%, (d) juveniles with speech impairment, 2%, juveniles with mental retardation, 1%, (f) juveniles with other health impairments, 1% and juveniles with traumatic brain injury, <1%. The incidences juvenile offenders with multiple disabilities were not available (Personal communication, C. McDaniel, August 9, 1999, unpublished raw data).

Conducted in 2001, this investigation revealed those male youth identified as youth with disabilities and receiving special education services ranged from 35% to as high as 68%. When asked to quantify the largest disability specific groups within the system, respondents identified the largest group as youth with (a) learning disabilities, ranging from 79% to 31%, and those with (b) severe emotional disturbances, ranging from 58% to 45%. Other disability specific categories mentioned however constituted very small percentages of the total population were youth with mental retardation, and those with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Of the ten male facilities, one was designated as the facility to house accessible for juvenile offender youth with physical disabilities and thus accessible. Another was identified as the agency facility to house the most severe juvenile offender youth with serious emotional disturbances and mental health disabilities.

Participants of this investigation described a difficulty in accurately identifying juvenile offender youth with disabilities because the juvenile justice agency disability definitions differ from the recognized federal definitions and categories. In addition, many participants remarked that delays often occurred in receiving the necessary educational records and documentation of services for youth on arrival into the system. Also, though the TYC agency documents youth in confinement being academically behind their same-age peers two to four years, often, only the most severe juvenile offender youth with disabilities received special education services.

Physical Education, Recreation, Physical Training Programs

A total of 30 Demographic Information Questionnarie data were utilized to provide description of physical education programs that exist in male juvenile offender youth facilities in the State of Texas.

Male Agency Athletic Fields, Courts, and Areas

Accommodations to support a physical education curriculum varied greatly (Figure 1 depicts specific fields, courts, or areas available for male juvenile offender youth). Nine of the ten facilities enclosed these fields, courts, or areas within the 14-foot razor perimeter fence. Only one facility allowed the youth to exit the facility to utilize near-by community parks and recreation fields, courts, or areas.

Though all 10 of the schools responded that basketball courts were available, six identified having both, indoor and outdoor courts and four with only outdoor courts. Nine of the schools responded that baseball/softball fields were available, while one identified future plans to build those fields. Only one facility boasted a two-lane bowling alley. However, during the facility tour it was announced the on-site superintendent had decided the youth were not be allowed to use this facility. This established that within the TYC system, superintendents were permitted to make decisions concerning curriculum matters and use of such areas. Six facilities did not have football fields, with financial costs and the youth's physicality (size) and aggression as rationales for the absence of such facilities. Though nine of the 10 facilities had soccer fields, one of the schools no longer used the field yet another identified future plans to build a field. Only two facilities identified tennis courts were available to the youth. Nine of 10 facilities offered track and field facilities. Another was making plans to include the construction of a track and event areas in the future. Four of the facilities track and field facilities were dirt or grass while others consisted of concrete (sidewalks) as the primary running surface and some asphalt tracks. Six facilities offered outdoor volleyball courts, three had indoor courts and one facility was awaiting finances to build. Two schools identified offering parcourse/wellness courses to the youth.

Male Agency Physical Education/Activity Facilities

Figure 2 depicts those male agencies that provide an array of physical education/activity facilities within the school grounds. Of the 10 facilities that offered youth an enclosed Gymnasium, the decision was largely dependent on the year-round weather patterns and geographical region of the state the facility resided.

Due to the extremely hot temperatures of the State of Texas, three utilized Open Outdoor Pavilions that served as the facility gymnasia. Two of those facilities had completed enclosing the pavilions. The pavilion then appeared to be a traditional gymnasium, though they often awaited financial support to complete installation of heating and lighting for the approaching winter months. One school had been approved to have construction begin to build a gymnasium. Two schools did not have any type of gymnasium to offer the youth. None of the agency schools offered both a gymnasium and an open outdoor pavilion.

Inquiry into Weight Lifting programs in agency schools resulted in responses that six of 10 had such a space. Three respondents remarked negatively about offering such a program to the youth. Comments included, "don't see a need if youth are performing their physical training exercises correctly" and "we actually have one but I've decided that [I'm] not going to allow it to be used." One school had brand new equipment and another had purchased the weights and placed them in storage until a building was constructed to house the program weights.

The topic of offering opportunities to develop skills in Swimming/Aquatic Programs was very disputed and again rested in the hands of each superintendent as to its availability. Only two of 10 school sites responded positively about offering aquatic skill development and activities to the youth. At those two schools, programming allowed youth to complete various levels of Red Cross/Lifeguard training. Participants shared a level pride in providing the youth with this training and reported that those youth successfully completing this training could then use those skills after exiting the system.

The other replies ranged from (a) four: no or none; to (b) four: "never will have one," "it was ordered to be filled in," "it's condemned," and finally, "it has lots of repairs needed before we can use it." Those disapproving responses were indicative of current public opinion and national position that supported a punitive stance versus a rehabilitative stance for populations in confinement to fund such program offerings.

Finally those facilities offering the youth a Game Room, included four providing such activity though the depreciation of the equipment was very evident. One agency did not have such a room for the youth and there was no information obtained from three facilities to answer this question. One respondent commented, "we have one but it is currently not available to the youth" while another agency included future plans for one.

For the purpose of this investigation, data from schools that offer curricula referred to as Outdoor Challenge were included. Names or focuses of those activities and the percentage of facilities offering such ranged from (a) confidence/obstacle course, five offering this to the youth; two facilities with future plans to build; two facilities that do not offer any such activities; and one that had a course and dismantled it; (b) ropes courses--both high ropes and low ropes, three facilities housed ropes courses; four facilities future plans included the construction of courses; and three facilities that did not offer any ropes courses; to, finally, a very unique offering of (c) marches/camps. At the time of this investigation, two facilities incorporated overnight marches/camps for the youth. Those two facilities incorporated a Boot Camp or Shock Incarceration Program curriculum. When questioned about teacher certification requirements necessary to instruct the Outdoor Challenge activities, only one respondent identified the need to obtain an upper and lower ropes elements certification. None of the respondents acknowledged a certification requirement to fulfill a Boot Camp curricular focus. Participant responses assured this investigator that very strict supervision guidelines were followed. Also, there was a shared staff commitment to provide the youth ample opportunity to succeed. All of facilities identified the stipulation that youth must complete the challenges prior to release from the system, unless a medical/psychological condition prevented the youth from doing so.

Physical Education Programming

In an attempt to better grasp the type of physical education program or curriculum male juvenile offender youth were offered, this investigator questioned a variety of programmatic issues. Those respondent answers follow.

Though all youth in the TYC system were required to engage in physical education programming, respondents shared that 98% of youth actually qualified for participation in physical education. Reasons for not participating in the physical education program ranged from medical releases to placement into security lock-down cells because of acts of behavioral misconduct. Overall, 100% of the respondents reported that youth attended physical education programming a minimum of five days a week, though respondents from two facilities shared that class frequency occurred daily. The highest student-teacher ratio reported was 1:80 with the lowest student-teacher ratio being 1:8. The average reported student-teacher ratios were 1:40 or less. When questioned about the amount of time youth were in class each instructional period, respondents identified an average of 50 minutes. When questioned about academic credit being awarded for attendance in the physical education classes, respondents provided that academic credit for enrollment in physical education programming resulted in 67% assigning credit, while the other 33% of respondents were unsure of credit being assigned. When asked if the state required certification of teachers or personnel to teach physical education programming, 44% responded yes with the remaining 56% of respondents unsure of actual state requirements as applied to the juvenile justice system. Of the 44% that responded yes, when questioned about the type of physical education certification needed, responses obtained were "secondary level certification" and another "all levels." This investigator interpreted that to mean a Kindergarten through 12th Grade (K-12) Certification.

The literature review of this manuscript provided rationales why juvenile offender youth have opportunities to engage in physical education curriculum content. Information further identified reasons why juvenile offender youth may be ineligible for participation in a physical education curriculum and programs. None the less, the three participant groups (superintendents, principals, and physical educators; recreation directors; and physical training directors N = 29) were asked the following four questions: (a) Is physical education a required curriculum at this facility? (b) If so, who teaches the physical education curriculum? (c) Who determines the physical education curriculum used in each facility? and (d) What is the name of the physical education curriculum adopted by your agency school?

Physical Education Curriculum

The 29 respondents replies to whether physical education was a required curriculum resulted in 70% identified it as a required class to be offered to the youth. The remaining 30% expressed it was not a required offering. The differences in responses may reflect juvenile justice personnel not aware of the language of the law, the level of severity of the types of crimes certain youth had committed and justice agency rules/policy that regulate involvement in various educational curricula, and finally, the number of years of juvenile justice employment or experience within the agency the participant has completed to adequately answer the question.

When questioned about who teaches the physical education curriculum to the youth, the answers varied amongst the groups? The response receiving the highest percentage was the recreation director or staff with 34%. Other answers included were (a) certified physical educator, 24%, (b) juvenile offender youth, 15% (c) physical training director/staff and juvenile corrections officer/staff, tied with 8%, (d) and the remaining respondents providing no answer.

Posing the question of who determines the physical education curriculum at each agency, as in the previous question, a variety of responses were given among the groups. The response receiving the highest percentage was the recreation director or staff with 43%. Additional responses included (a) on-site superintendent and state physical education curriculum guidelines, tied with 28%, and (b) principals, 12%.

Finally, when asked to provide the name of the physical education curriculum adopted by facility schools, the answers included (a) the State Education Agency (SEA) Physical Education Guidelines, (b) the United States Army Physical Fitness Manual, (c) general recreation activity, (d) Presidential Physical Fitness Program, (e) our athletic sports teams and competitions, (f) the TYC Physical Training Program, and (g) there isn't a specific curriculum.

As an adapted physical education specialist, questions were posed regarding what types of physical assessments or ways to measure progress and achievement for youth with disabilities in the physical motor domain of learning. Had any of the youth been provided with adapted physical education goals and objectives through an Individualized Education Programs (IEP) while in residency? Had any youth been provided with Individualized Transition Programs (ITP) to assist with physical education goals and objectives upon exit of the agency program? Though each juvenile offender youth receives a rigorous assessment by the agency diagnostic staff at the intake and orientation facility prior to entrance in the agency program, none of the youth in the agency arrived or later required either an IEP or an ITP in the physical motor domain of learning. Respondents identified isolated incidences that agency staff was assisted by Regional Education Service Center specialists with various types of juvenile offender youth with disabilities (youth with sensory disabilities - deaf and visual impairments; physical impairments relying on wheelchairs for mobility issues; and traumatic brain injured).

Respondents shared that youth's progress was measured through a variety of documentations. The primary form was through daily participation and attendance records, 38%. This form of documentation was the most common to award credits earned toward satisfying the SEA requirements. Other forms of measurement were from scores accomplished on the Presidential Physical Fitness Test, 9%, the TYC Physical Training Program, 19%, and the SEA curriculum guidelines, 25% and the remaining responses from physical education curriculum content testing.

As a final inquiry, this primary investigator posed questions regarding the youth's opportunity to experience athletic competition in a team or sport context. First, respondents identified the top three prevalent sport activities male youth participated in during physical education classes or recreation periods. Those top three sport activities were basketball, baseball/softball, with soccer and football tied at third. These answers prompted the identification of facilities that permitted and organized sport competitions for youth to engage in with other facilities with teams or community/area teams often referred to as "schools in the free." Of the ten male juvenile offender facilities, six facilities offer some type of athletic team competition either with other agency facilities or community/area squads while a newer facility had future plans to permit youth to compete. The sport teams youth compete in vary per each facility. Rationales for allowing youth to compete or not compete vary per agency individual, policy, and facility equipment availability. Boot camp facilities competed in drill/marching competitions against each other and allowed youth to compete in community leagues in various team sports.

Information supplied by this inquiry may not shape public opinion or influence political decision making. It could, however, serve as a catalyst for interested parties: advocates, supporters, activists, or a variety of professionals concerning the value placed on physical activity for male youth in confinement/incarcerated settings. The present descriptive information, while limited in scope, provides a framework of the types of physical education programming offered in male juvenile offender facilities. Part II of this investigation will report the personal perceptions of the participants through qualitative results from answers to seven interview questions. It is the hope of this primary investigator that a more in depth examination of the phenomena of physical education programming within the male juvenile offender youth facilities is unfolded. With offender facilities' populations extremely high it is critical to pursue new research ideas that will enhance efforts to truly address the needs of juvenile offender youth to the road of rehabilitation so to contribute to society.

Appendix A: Superintendent Demographic Information Questionnaires

Facility Information Name and specialized treatment program of facility:

Current population of facility: -- Considered capacity? -- Yes -- No

Indicate female and/or male population sizes/percentages: Male -- Female --

Age range of youth housed at facility: --

Estimated youth racial/ethnic percentages in facility: (attempt to total 100%)

-- African-American -- Anglo-Saxon -- Asian -- Hispanic -- Native American -- Other

1. Is physical education a required curriculum course at this facility? -- Yes -- No: If yes, who teaches the physical education classes: --

2. Who determines the physical education curriculum at your facility? (person(s) most responsible)

Director of facility Board of Directors of TYC Superintendent of facility education program Physical educator of facility Federal or State Legislature Local Legislature Principal of facility education program Recreation director of facility

3. Name the physical education curriculum used in your facility; if any?

4. Youth who qualify for inclusion in the physical education program? Approximate percent of population receiving physical education? --

5. Is state certification required to teach physical education in your facility? -- Yes -- No: If yes, what type/level of certification is required? (i.e., K-12th grades physical education; all levels, etc.)

6. Is state certification required to teach the outdoor wilderness challenge physical education curriculum activities? -- Yes -- No: If yes, what type/level of certification is required for the outdoor wilderness challenge model? --

7. Is a state certification required to teach boot camp physical education curriculum activities? -- Yes -- No: If yes, what type/level of certification is required for the boot camp model?

8. Is academic credit given for class time to satisfy state legislative physical education curriculum requirements? -- Yes -- No; identify the number of credit units required --.

Appendix B: Principal Demographic Information Questionnaires

1. Is physical education a required curriculum course at this facility? -- Yes -- No: If yes, who teaches the physical education classes: --

2. Who determines the physical education curriculum at your facility? (person(s) most responsible)

Director of facility Board of Directors of TYC Superintendent of facility education program Physical educator of facility Federal or State Legislature Local Legislature Principal of facility education program Recreation director of facility

3. Name the physical education curriculum used, if any? --

4. How is physical education progress measured? --

5. When a youths' behavior becomes problematic, regarding participation in physical education activities, check any specific behavior management systems used:

-- Token economy -- Contracts -- Response cost -- Restitution -- Isolation /exclusion -- Counseling -- Combination of techniques (use comment segment)

Comments: --

Identified Special Education Population, please provide the following:

1. Disability specific/special education percentages within facility: (provide top three)

-- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/Attention Deficit Disorder -- Blind or Visual Impairment -- Cerebral Palsy, Stroke, and Traumatic Brain Injury -- Deaf or Hard of Hearing -- Learning Disability -- Mental Retardation -- Orthopedic Impairments/Physical Disability (also any juvenile using a walker, wheelchair, crutches) -- Serious Emotional Disturbance, Behavior Disorders, and Autism (also any juvenile with mood disorders, depression, mental illnesses, etc.) -- Other Health Impairments (also any juvenile with AIDS, Asthma, Cystic fibrosis, Diabetes, etc.)

2. Are adapted physical education consultants used to develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for special education youth? -- Yes -- No; If no, Who writes the physical education IEP?

3. Are adapted physical education consultants used to develop physical education Individualized Transition Programs (ITP) for special education youth? -- Yes -- No; If no, who writes the physical education ITP?

Appendix C: Physical Educators, Recreation Directors, and Physical Training Director: Demographic Information Questionnaires

1. Is physical education a required curriculum course at this facility? -- Yes -- No: If yes, who teaches the physical education classes: --

2. Who determines the physical education curriculum at your facility? (person(s) most responsible)

Director of facility Board of Directors of TYC Superintendent of facility education program Physical educator of facility Federal or State Legislature Local Legislature Principal of facility education program Recreation director of facility

3. Name the physical education curriculum used in your facility, if any? --

4. Are physical education assessments conducted? -- Yes -- No: If yes, who conducts the assessments?

Physical educator of facility Adapted physical educator specialist Physical therapist Physician Therapeutic recreation specialist Recreation director of facility Diagnostician Nurse Local university personnel Regional education consultant Other: --

5. Name the physical education assessments used? --

6. Class frequency per week:

Once a week Twice a week Three times a week Four times a week Daily

7. Physical education class size: (TYC personnel to youth ratio)

1:20 or less 1:40 or less 1:60 or less 1:80 or less > 1:80 Other: (i.e. 2:20; explain as needed.) --

8. Physical education class duration:

25 min. 30-40 min. 45-50 min. 55-60 min. 90 min. varies 20-30 min. varies 30-45 min. varies 45-50 min. varies 45-90 min. Other: --

How is physical education progress measured? --

9. Please check each box of physical education curriculum activity offered in this facility: AND Rank the top 3 activities via youth popularity (1 number one choice; 2 number two choice; 3 number three choice) Individual Sports/Activities:

Aerobics Boxing/punch bag Gymnastics Gym/outdoor weights Isometrics Jogging/running/walking Kick boxing/tae bo Parcourses (outdoor wellness trails) Physical conditioning Putt putt golf/golf Swimming Track and field events Wrestling Other: --

Dual Sports/Activities:

Badminton Billiards (pool) Bowling Bocce ball Croquet Dance Handball Horseshoes Racquetball Shuffleboard Table tennis Tennis Other: --

Team Sports/Activities:

Baseball Basketball Football/flag or contact Softball/fast pitch or slow pitch Soccer Volleyball Other: --

Adventure-Based Wilderness Challenge Activities:

*Boot Camp: Military drill, ceremony, physical training Camping Canoeing/kayaking Climbing/wall, tower, rock, pole Cycling Hiking Rappelling Snorkeling Survival training Navigation/night/daytime Orienteering Ropes challenge-high Ropes challenge-low Ropes challenge- ind. Ropes challenge- team Traversing Other: --

What indoor/outdoor facilities are available for physical education activities?

Basketball-outside Baseball/softball field Bowling lanes Football field Gymnasium-inside Handball/racquetball court Horseshoe pits Parcourse/outdoor wellness trail Soccer field Swimming pool Tennis court Track Volleyball court-outside Weight room Other: --

* If Boot Camp briefly explain daily schedule/regime:


The investigator acknowledges and thanks Drs. Ron French, Jean Pyfer, Jane Irons, all professors at Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX; the Texas Youth Commission, Austin, TX; Dr. William Pitney, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at Northern Illinois University, and Mr. Aneis Baswedan, in the Research and Evaluation Program Services at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL.

This study was partially supported by the College of Health Science Research Enhancement Funds, Texas Woman's University, Denton. It was completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements of a doctoral degree at Texas Woman's University under the direction of Ron French.


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Address correspondence to:

Linda C. Hilgenbrinck

Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education

Northern Illinois University

Anderson Hall, 232

DeKalb, Illinois 60115-2854

Work: (815) 753-7152

Fax: (815) 753-1413


Linda Hilgenbrinck

Northern Illinois University, DeKalb
Male Agency Athletic Fields, Courts,
and Areas

 Yes Plan to Build

Volleyball 90% 10%
Track & Field 90% 10%
Tennis 30%
Soccer 80% 10%
Football 40%
Bowling Alley 10%
Baseball/Softball 90% 10%
Basketball 100%

Male Agency Physical
Education/Activity Facilities

 Yes Plan to Build

Weight Room 60% 10%
Swimming Pool 40%
Ropes Course 30% 40%
Open Outdoor Pavillion 20%
Gymnasium 70% 10%
Game Room 40% 10%
Challenge Course 50% 20%
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Author:Hilgenbrinck, Linda
Publication:Clinical Kinesiology: Journal of the American Kinesiotherapy Association
Date:Sep 22, 2003
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