Prison Pipeline

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Research Question:

What is the “school-to-prison pipeline,” and what steps have various reform groups taken to halt the funneling of students into the criminal justice system in major U.S. cities over the past five years?

Relevance:

The school-to-prison pipeline plagues schools and youth across the country, specifically minority and disabled students in urban areas. Due to policies employed in elementary and secondary schools across the United States, students are funneled directly from the school system into the criminal justice system. Many of these schools have metal detectors at every entrance, law enforcement officers staffing the buildings and campuses, and intense zero-tolerance policies that treat minor and major infractions with similar severity. Authorities and educators have shown an increasing dependence on suspensions, expulsions, and outside law enforcement to intervene when faced with disciplinary issues in the classroom. The removal of students from the classroom setting regularly for both major and minor disciplinary infractions poses significant physical and emotional risks to youth. Often, young people living in urban settings are led to feel that arrest and incarceration are inevitable and are simply what lies ahead in their futures. Recidivism rates for juveniles are shockingly high and the school-to-prison pipeline only adds to these figures. The fact that school policies could be, at least in part, responsible for guiding students into the criminal justice system is alarming; any policies or campaigns to put a stop to this pipeline are incredibly important.

Research Strategy:

To start my research, I used Google, Google Scholar, and JStor to search “school to prison pipeline” in an effort to gather broad, background information about the school-to-prison pipeline. After gathering information about the way the pipeline is defined and framed, I narrowed my search to “school to prison pipeline new york city” and “education policy...
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