Closing the digital divide on the inside
Entering the grounds of the Wyoming Girls’ School in Sheridan, Wyoming, there are no gates. No barbed wire. White-tailed deer roam the grounds. The only fences at this secure juvenile detention facility are meant to keep the horses from escaping.
Tim Campbell, who has been teaching at the school for eight years, recalls the first time he saw the place.
“It looked more like a private school,” he says. “It’s a gorgeous campus.”
But this is not a private school. The 39 girls — ages 14 to 18 — who have been sentenced to live here have all broken the law. They've committed mostly non-violent crimes, like drug possession and parole violations. Although they’re not locked in, they can’t leave, and they’re monitored constantly.
Tens of thousands of kids nationally have been sentenced to live in secure juvenile justice facilities. Many of them, including some of the girls at Wyoming, are failing in school or far behind when they get there. They’re also suffering from emotional and behavior problems.
Research shows that many of them make no progress or, worse, lose ground during the time they are locked up. Many kids never return to high school when they are released. Kids who do go back, often drop out.