The Jaw-Dropping Prison Pipeline No One Talks About
Date:  06-17-2014

Youths with disabilities are five times more likely to wind up in the juvenile justice system than young people in the general population
Much has been written about the school to prison pipeline, an unwritten policy that criminalizes children for minor infractions. Under widely used “zero tolerance” policies schools throughout the country have juveniles taken from school in handcuffs for “crimes” such as truancy or disruptive behavior. The result of such actions leaves many children with labels such as “troubled youth,” and criminal records that might surface years later, although juvenile records are supposed to be sealed.

The students most negatively impacted by overly zealous zero tolerance policies are children of color. The collateral consequences of the school to prison pipeline are so numerous, and so harmful that there has been bi-partisan support to shut the pipeline down. Kids end up with a distrust of police. Education is interrupted. Schools are seen by some children as a scary place where swearing or being late might result in being hauled in front of a judge.

While some progress has been made, the pipeline is not fully dismantled. In a Prison Reform Movement blog Rajiv Narayan reports that children with disabilities are increasingly the ones that are that are being pushed from school into the juvenile criminal justice system . Read more.