The School-To-Prison Pipeline: What’s Next?
While addressing a lifetime of racial disparities may seem like a daunting task, there are a few immediate steps that can and should be taken to address some of the issues discussed in these charts.
- Passage by the General Assembly of legislation limiting the use of out-of-school suspensions and requiring school districts to look seriously at their racial disparities in meting out discipline and coming up with concrete ways to reduce them.
- Passage by the General Assembly of strong, comprehensive racial profiling legislation that seriously confronts racial disparities in traffic stops and searches.
- Passage of legislation – already enacted in a few states – to require the preparation of “racial impact statements” prior to the consideration of bills that would have the effect of increasing the prison population.
- An acknowledgement by state and municipal leaders that racial disparities are a significant problem that demands action.
- A commitment by state and municipal leaders, and particularly law enforcement personnel, to regularly examine policies, practices and procedures which appear to have a disparate impact on racial minorities, and to develop ways to minimize those disparities.
- The annual adoption of specific and measurable plans of action by school districts and law enforcement agencies to address the racial disparities documented in this report and in other data.
The charts contained in this report paint a vivid and disturbingly consistent picture. If we are to stop the untold damage caused by the school-to-prison pipeline, it is incumbent upon policy makers to publicly commit to addressing this problem. Only by taking concrete steps that promote accountability can there be any confidence that the next look at the statistics documented here will show improvement.19
19This report was prepared by ACLU of Rhode Island policy associate Hillary Davis