The School to Prison Pipeline

Image courtesy of thinkprogress.org

Image courtesy of thinkprogress.org

….this is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen, and for which neither I nor history will ever forgive them, that they destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not wish to know it..it is their innocence which constitutes the crime.-Michelle AlexanderThe New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

It is glaringly evident that lower-income youth in urban areas are at a greater disadvantage than their affluent peers with regards to educational resources. One needs only to walk by these underfunded public schools to see the wired windows, relatively barren recreational courts and the heavy presence of police officers patrolling the grounds. High school graduation rates for Black and Latin@ students further reveal the wide disparities in the U.S. public school system along socioeconomic and racial lines. Rather than being placed on a path toward academic success, large numbers of Black and Brown students, especially males, are channeled to the prison system through so-called “zero tolerance” policies implemented in schools across the country. The school-to-prison pipeline refers to the policies and practices that push neglected students into the juvenile detention and incarceration system. Sadly, students of color are often stigmatized with labels like “at-risk,” conveying a narrowed perception of their potential and resigning them to failure before they have been given the chance to excel.

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Unequal Protection Under the Law

Please be aware this video uses strong language. Due to the nature of the topic, we felt it was appropriate to include this taped encounter in the post.

This past summer, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) released a smart-phone app to record stop-and-frisk activities by police. The NYCLU has said that the Stop-and-Frisk Watch App “will empower New Yorkers to monitor police activity and hold the NYPD accountable for unlawful stop-and-frisk encounters and other police misconduct.” Similarly, the ACLU-NJ released Police Tape, an app that can be used to record police interactions in a secure fashion. Both apps allow people to activate a recording device that can record police activity discreetly. Once recording has been completed, the data can be instantly submitted to the ACLU or NYCLU. They can store it in case your phone is destroyed or confiscated and evaluate it to see if any rights have been violated. The apps also offer legal information to help users better understand their own rights. These programs work to encourage police accountability by making their interactions with citizens easy to report and accessible to the public.

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