I did not believe the existence of school-to-prison pipeline when I first heard of it. I thought it would just be another scary word created by the media trying to make a fuss. How can it be possible? Shouldn’t the behaviors of the students be adjusted at school if they make mistakes on school campuses? Why should the criminal justice system intervene? However, this pipeline not only exists, but it has been pumping teenagers directly from schools to prison, with thousands being sent to the prison each and every year.
The exaggerating rate of incarceration for the African Americans has already been no news to the public. Although the United States is putting so many people into its prison, and although the majority of these people are African Americans, to many people, it is still understandable and no issue at all. We may get too harsh when it comes to punishing the criminals, and we may to too strict with imposing those punishments. However, it absolutely makes sense to give a criminal some kind of punishment he or she deserves, in order to let him or her learn the lesson. Therefore, with this mindset, many people, including me, still do not consider the mass incarceration a very serious issue. Probably the United States has so many prisoners is simply due to the fact that there are more people committing crimes here.
However, the school-to-prison is totally another issue. It is not a representation of the punishment for the criminals. Rather, it is a machine that is producing criminals. Students who have made some major mistakes will be directly sent to the criminal justice system for review. Although this makes sense if the kind of mistakes these students have make is serious enough, like reporting a fake bomb threat or bringing weapons to school property, it makes absolutely no sense to even apply the same rule to those students who have only done some minor offenses. It has been reported that some students are sent to criminal justice system, although they may not eventually be deemed as guilty of anything, just because they broke the school dressing code or because of their “obnoxious behaviors” on campus. Who has never had any obnoxious behaviors when he or she was in primary or secondary school?
As I research on about this subject, it makes less and less sense to me to have such a pipeline. According to studies, students who have been referred to the criminal justice system are 60% more likely to be referred to there again and are 83% more likely to end up in prison at a certain point in their lives. So since we are not helping or correcting these students from their misbehaviors by handing them over to the criminal justice system, why do we still need such a mechanism?
Why do we need a pipeline that directly sends clean water to polluted water, especially when there no existing returning pipeline that are able to bring back those clear and precious water?