Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline, Second Edition
Edited By Anthony J. Nocella II, Priya Parmar and David Stovall
Part II: Targeting Youth
← 66 | 67 → Part II
The vast majority of prisoners are not imprisoned because they are “criminals,” but because they’ve been accused of breaking one of an ever-increasing number of laws designed to exert tighter social control and State repression. They have been scapegoated and criminalized. This can be seen in the increased number of Black, Latino, Native American and Asian youth detained under youth-crime acts and “anti-gang” laws; the number of foreign nationals (excluding most Europeans) imprisoned under hate-mongering immigration laws; and of course, the “drug” war in which hundreds of thousands have been kidnapped from their communities, even from other countries.
When young black men reach a certain age—whether or not there is incarceration in their families—they themselves are the target of police stops, interrogations, frisks, often for no reason other than their race. And, of course, this level of harassment sends a message to them, often at an early age: No matter who you are or what you do, you’re going to find yourself behind bars one way or the other. This reinforces the sense that prison is part of their destiny, rather than a choice one makes.