The United States of America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, at 716 per 100,000 of the national population (Wagner, Sakala, & Begley, 2016). While the United States represents only about 4.4 percent of the world's population, it houses around 22% of the world's prisoners (Wagner et al., 2016). Many of these adult prisoners begin their criminal history as children or young adults (Leone, Krezmien, Mason, & Meisel, 2005). This study looks at how student educational engagement can be fostered so as to increase the quality of education for juvenile delinquents in order to reduce recidivism rates, thus lowering the prison population over time.
Increasing the quality of education systems within residential juvenile justice facilities has been shown to be a critical piece of rehabilitation for juvenile delinquents. This autoethnography looks at how one teacher-researcher has worked to increase student engagement in order to increase both student motivation and achievement within one residential juvenile justice facility over four years.