PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The US spends $5.7 billion on incarcerating juveniles and billions more in the entire juvenile justice system and gets little in return, writes RiShawn Biddle on the Dropout Nation website.

Data from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation reveals that only 12% of former juvenile prison inmates graduated from high school or earned a GED; and just 45% of those in custody spend six hours in classes. Studies in Florida, New York and Virginia suggest that 55% of incarcerated juveniles will be rearrested. Therefore, when addressing the dropout rate, such data must be considered.

READ MORE: Seat Belts That Can Explode Forces Hyundai To Recall 239,000 Cars

Biddle points to the over-diagnosis of kids with learning disabilities. Many poor and those of color who aren’t ready when they enter school are placed early in special ed classes; therefore much blame rests on American education.

READ MORE: More Items Containing Jif Peanut Butter Recalled Due To Potential Salmonella Contamination

While problems of juvenile offenders are very complex, studies show teaching kids to read well in the early grades and strong literacy instruction for those incarcerated can stem the dropout crisis and wasted lives in prisons.

MORE NEWS: Police Presence At New Jersey Schools Increased In Wake Of Texas School Shooting

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio