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NCJ Number: 220246 Find in a Library
Title: Literacy and the Courts
Journal: Alaska Justice Forum  Volume:24  Issue:2  Dated:Summer 2007  Pages:1-8
Author(s): Katherine Alteneder
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 8
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report explores literacy issues in the areas of national literacy levels and its impact within the courts due to an increase in self-represented litigants, national assessment information on adult literacy and literacy among inmates, and literacy and education among Alaska inmates.
Abstract: In examining “Literacy and the Courts,” this article presents findings from national surveys on literacy levels and its impact on the court system. During the last 10 years, State courts throughout the country have experienced a steady increase in the number of self-represented litigants in civil cases, resulting in a situation in which self-representation is now the norm. A self-represented litigant requires the ability to fully engage in the court process. However, in today’s courts, the judge is often in the courtroom with two lay people, who likely lack the necessary reading comprehension skills. America’s literacy crisis has serious repercussions for the justice system. In the article, “National Assessment of Adult Literacy and Literacy among Prison Inmates,” findings are presented from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy. Also, results specific to the prison population are discussed in the recently released report of the National Center for Education Statistics: “Literacy Behind Bars.” Average scores for the prison population fall within the basic level for all three measures of literacy, with sizeable percentages testing at the below basic level. A brief article discusses literacy and education among Alaskan inmates. The Alaska Department of Corrections offers educational programs in all its facilities. Education coordinators and superintendents in each facility tailor course offerings to the perceived needs of the inmate population and according to the resources for the community. Additional material and information presented in this report include: (1) the completion of an educational video on domestic violence by the Alaska Court System and the Justice Center and (2) assessment tools or strategies for evaluating literacy skills. Tables, figures
Main Term(s): Literacy education
Index Term(s): Alaska; Education; Educational levels; Illiteracy; Inmate academic education; Inmate Education Assistance Programs; Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
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