Amelia Thompson serves as the Senior Program Director for the Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College. Her work focuses primarily on managing the NYC Justice Corps, a demonstration initiative that engages 18-24 year olds returning to high crime and high poverty communities in leadership, community and workforce development opportunities. She is also a member of the coordinating committee of the New York Reentry Education Network, a graduate student at John Jay College, and is the President of High Impact Alliance, Inc., a volunteer-run youth development nonprofit organization. Amelia’s interests are in thinking about low educational attainment as a key risk factor that perpetuates involvement in the criminal justice system.
Populations under correctional supervision in state and federal prisons, local jails and under probation in the community demonstrate significantly lower educational attainment levels than individuals 18 years old and older in the general population. It is estimated that 40% of state prison inmates, 47% of individuals in local jails and 31% of probationers had not achieved a high school diploma as compared to 18% of the broader population who had not obtained secondary educational credentials. Additionally, it is widely accepted that youth in the juvenile justice system are two or more years behind their peers in basic academic skills. This trend suggests low educational attainment is a key risk factor associated with involvement in the justice system. Framing low educational attainment
in this regard invites researchers and practitioners to co-labor in designing high impact interventions that address this risk factor, and evaluating their effectiveness.