Futures in the Balance: Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Key Points:

  • Testing limits is normal adolescent behavior. Young people act out, make mistakes, and push boundaries largely because the parts of their brains that regulate these behaviors are still being formed.
  • Diverting youth from the legal system by keeping them in school can result in better life outcomes for young people.
  • The legal system is fraught with racially disparate treatment and outcomes, insufficient educational programming, traumatic impact, and other negative consequences that can derail a young person’s future.
  • Formal legal system interventions frequently result in little to no positive change in behavior.
  • Schools disproportionately discipline (suspend, expel, or reassign to alternative schools) youth of color, and also refer them to court and for arrest at disproportionate rates.
  • Youth of color are disproportionately arrested, charged, detained, adjudicated, and incarcerated.
  • Youth who are formally processed through the court system often become disengaged and disconnected from school, resulting in higher drop-out rates and lower college enrollment.
  • Youth who are incarcerated are often the victims of sexual and/or physical assault and are more likely to have worse general and mental health problems as adults.
File Type: pdf
Categories: Gault Center Publications, Policy Tool, Resource Library
Tags: Annotated Bibliography, Health & Mental Health, Racial Justice, School and Special Education