030-12 Incarcerated Students with Disabilities in Federal Prisons: LEA Responsibilities for FAPE
Are local school divisions responsible for providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for students with disabilities convicted as adults and incarcerated in federal prisons?
No. Federal and state regulations governing special education require that FAPE be available to eligible students with disabilities in adult correctional facilities. (34 CFR §300.102(a); corresponding Virginia Regulations at 8 VAC 20-81-100A.2.b). No other provision in the IDEA or Virginia Regulations directs FAPE for students with disabilities convicted as adults and serving time in federal prison.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) emphasized this position in responding to an inquiry on this topic. OSEP noted that the IDEA does not specifically require the provision of educational services to students with disabilities incarcerated in federal prisons. These students fall under the authority of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. (Letter to Mahaley, 111 LRP 68366, OSEP 2011; see also Letter to Yudien, 103 LRP 37913, OSEP 2003).