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From Education to Incarceration

Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline

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Anthony J. Nocella II, Priya Parmar and David Stovall

The school-to-prison pipeline is a national concern, from the federal to local governments, and a leading topic in conversations in the field of urban education and juvenile justice. From Education to Incarceration: Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline is a ground-breaking book that exposes the school system’s direct relationship to the juvenile justice system. The book reveals various tenets contributing to unnecessary expulsions, leaving youth vulnerable to the streets and, ultimately, behind bars. From Education to Incarceration is a must-read for parents, teachers, law enforcement, judges, lawyers, administrators, and activists concerned with and involved in the juvenile justice and school system. The contributors are leading scholars in their fields and experts on the school-to-prison pipeline.
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Chapter Three: Changing the Lens: Moving Away from the School to Prison Pipeline

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← 53 | 54 → CHAPTERTHREE

Over the course of the past 15 years, there has been an abundance of literature that seeks to conceptualize the school to prison pipeline (STPP) as the primary model of analysis with respect to the criminalization of youth in general and Black youth in particular. While language and work in relationship to it have been highly effective in organizing communities around discipline policies and policing of schools, the phrasing and current policy initiatives around STPP fail to dig deep and address the root causes that have led to increased surveillance, racialized and economic segregation within education, and, importantly, the enormous effect that public education has had upon institutionalizing the current prison regime. My aim through the course of this chapter is to focus on Los Angeles as a key site in order to understand what is necessary to shift our mode of analysis away from the school to prison pipeline and come up with a new vocabulary/lexicon that will allow us to understand the massive impact that education has upon society.

Los Angeles is a very important city in the context of public education, as programs such as D.A.R.E. and the criminalization of “truants” were first piloted there and then were exported across the nation. Los Angeles is also important because it is often constructed as a primary example of liberal democracy. However, historical and current realities indicate that the city is a collection of extreme racialized and economic differences. The rebellions of...

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