Skip to main content

Using UDL to Help Youth in Jail


Joanne Karger & Rachel Currie-Rubin


Journal of Special Education Leadership




This article discusses the application of the educational framework Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to transform the education that is provided to incarcerated youth. Contrasting current practices in detention and juvenile corrections facilities with UDL-informed strategies, the authors describe how the three UDL principles (multiple means of representation, multiple means of student action and expression, and multiple means of student engagement) can help educators design classroom environments that address the educational needs of incarcerated youth more effectively. The article highlights the application of UDL in the context of five areas: curriculum and instruction, assessment, behavior, transition planning, and teacher preparation. *It is argued that the UDL framework has the potential to improve the poor quality of education currently provided in detention and juvenile corrections facilities and to help incarcerated youth become more engaged in learning, an important factor contributing to their successful reintegration into school and the community.

Get the article

Cite As

Karger, J., & Currie-Rubin, R. (2013). Addressing the educational needs of incarcerated youth: Universal design for learning as a transformative framework. Journal of Special Education Leadership, 26(2), 106-116.

Top of Page