Dear Next President:
The school pipeline to prison has been a hot debate and a national trend these recent years. This epidemic has been spreading across the nation starting with schools and their zero tolerance policies where students are suspended, expelled, or arrested for slight offenses. The students are then taken out of public schools and put into Juvenile Halls. The zero tolerance policies punish the kids instead of helping the students, creating a domino effect that eventually affects their adulthood.
According to PBS, 68% of the males in state and federal prisons do not have a high school diploma. This is a key indicator that most of the trouble started very early during the prisoner's youth. Also, this usually happens more to minorities. For example, students of color and low income students are most likely to be punished than whites. Statistics from PBS show that 70% of students involved in “in-school” arrests or referred to law enforcement are Black or Latino. 70% of California state prison population were part of foster youth care.
The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world and our prisons are packed with Latinos and Blacks. This is because the starting points begin in schools and foster homes. What these pipelines create are isolation to the kids because are not provided some type of help these kids need, just punishments. Instead of punishing people for minor infractions, we should start focusing on areas of the country where there are few education opportunities and also high crime rates. Punishing isn't a solution because it is only impacting our future. Our current youth are tomorrow's leaders and the only way to invest in a prosperous future is by educating and supporting them. America's youth are the only hope for the future.