The school-to-prison pipeline is a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Many of these children have learning disabilities or histories of poverty, abuse, or neglect, and would benefit from additional educational and counseling services. Instead, they are isolated, punished, and pushed out.

“Zero-tolerance” policies criminalize minor infractions of school rules, while cops in schools lead to students being criminalized for behavior that should be handled inside the school. Students of color are especially vulnerable to push-out trends and the discriminatory application of discipline.

The sexual abuse-to-prison pipeline is a related trend focusing on ways in which we criminalize girls, especially girls of color. This includes when common responses to trauma – often by sexual abuse victims – are criminalized within the school system, causing children to enter the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

If you'd like more information on this topic, please contact Ian Henderson, Associate Director.