kid-in-prison-600x400Federal Funding, Zero Tolerance and Inadequate Alternatives mean that more states are policing schools with armed officers.  Before the 1970’s police were almost absent from elementary and junior high schools. Today we are punishing children to the full extent of the law for behaviors the child needs help managing if they are ever to read at grade level, graduate from high school and lead a normal life.  Expelling and incarcerating children almost guarantees that kids will not leave school with the skills they need to live a productive life.

Today in American schools, 19,000 armed officers are dealing with an escalation of violence and criminal prosecutions for children as young as 5 years old.  Prosecuting kids in place of using resources to help them adapt destroys the fabric of a child’s life and achieves the exact opposite of what children need and society expects from the school experience.  

There are a significant number of us who believe it more important to punish bad behavior in children than it is to help them develop the skills they need to live. 

 

When these folks hold sway in education, the institution suffers, the child suffers, and the community gains one more troubled adult a few years later.  For too long, America has led the world in crime, incarceration, violence and troubled schools.  While not the only reason, treating at risk children with behavioral problems as offenders instead of troubled youth has played a big role.

 

 

The data behind America’s incarceration of children | Fusion

fusion.net/story/203703/childincarceration-data-in-images/

Oct 2, 2015 – No developed country incarcerates children at the rate the U.S. does — and it’s not even close. Just take a look at the data.

 

Children in Prison | Equal Justice Initiative

eji.org/children-prison

Thousands of children in the U.S. have been prosecuted as adults and sentenced to adult prisons. EJI is working to end the abusive treatment of children in the adult criminal justice system. … MassIncarceration · Poverty · Unreliable …

 

Throwing children in prison turns out to be a really bad idea – The …

https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/throwing-children-in-prison-turns-out-to-be-a-rea…

Jun 15, 2013 – The United States still puts more children and teenagers in juvenile … The kids who ended up incarcerated were 13 percentage points less …

Police in schools: Why are they there? – CNN.com

www.cnn.com/2015/10/27/us/south-carolina-school-resource-officers/

Oct 30, 2015 – This week, a school resource officer in Columbia, South Carolina, was captured on a video that’s been replayed across the nation.School resource officers, or SROs, supervise lunchrooms, coach sports, promote drug and alcohol awareness and become confidants to teens who might have …

Police in schools: Arresting developments – The Economist

www.economist.com/…/21685204-minorities-bear-brunt-aggressive-police-tactics-sch

Jan 9, 2016 – By 2007 an estimated 19,000 school policemen, known as School Resource Officers, were plodding the corridors of America’s schools, …

When 14-year-old Ryan Turk cut ahead of the lunch line to grab a milk, he didn’t expect to get in trouble. He certainly didn’t plan to end up in handcuffs. But Turk, a black student at Graham Park Middle School, was arrested for disorderly conduct and petty larceny for procuring the 65-cent carton. The state of Virginia is actually prosecuting the case, which went to trial in November.

Changing the rules of the game requires federal, state, and local reforms. With little evidence that police in schools make students safer and plenty that they facilitate harm to students’ liberty and well-being, the Department of Justice should end the cops program’s SRO grants to districts. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for billions that promote unjust school conditions and put kids at greater risk of future involvement with the criminal justice system. And students should feel like they can talk to school officials when they have problems without forfeiting their constitutional rights and winding up in the back of police cars.

For Profit Youth Prisons

This combination of a profit-hungry private prison and a bad law that allows too many teenagers to enter the adult justice system has created a public safety crisis in Mississippi.

200,000 Youth Tried As Adults Each Year; Temple University

My experience with children receiving adequate therapy for the severe trauma and resulting behavior problems that were so indelibly a part of these very young children’s lives was almost non existent.

Once these very troubled children become old enough to impact their surroundings they do so in a most troubling manner. That’s why our jails are full and our schools are troubled.

From the study; “In other words, by one mechanism or another, more than 200,000 individuals under the age of 18 are prosecuted in criminal court each year. There are three trends in the data worth noting.

Where The Big Money Is (privatized prisons for youth)

Private Prison Empire Rises Despite Startling Record Of Juvenile Abuse

By Chris Kirkham
OCTOBER 22, 2013
This is the first in a two-part series. The second part will be published on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
From a glance at his background, one might assume that James F. Slattery would have a difficult time convincing any state in America to entrust him with the supervision of its lawbreaking youth.

Over the past quarter century, Slattery’s for-profit prison enterprises have run afoul of the Justice Department and authorities in New York, Florida, Maryland, Nevada and Texas for alleged offenses ranging from condoning abuse of inmates to plying politicians with undisclosed gifts while seeking to secure state contracts.

Go To Jail Go Directly To Jail (and be branded for life)

Minnesota’s former Supreme Court Chief Justice has stated that 90% of the youth in the Juvenile Justice system have passed through Child Protective Services and that “The difference between that poor child and a felon is about eight years”.

Marion Wright Edelman calls this the pipeline to prison & from this volunteer CASA guardian ad Litems perspective it is absolutely true. No other industrialized nation treats its children and juveniles so harshly.

It’s Inevitable (police shootings)

Dallas Police Chief David Brown and MN Sheriff Rich Stanek speaking out about how armed law enforcement officers are now the front line in managing more and more of societies problems is just the beginning.

Sheriff Stanek and his fellow Washington and Ramsey Sheriffs threatening to sue the State of MN for not providing timely mental health services to the troubled people in their squad cars and jails thereby turning law officers into mental health service providers may be the most effective way of drawing attention to the massive under-treatment of traumatized children soon to impact schools, communities and law enforcement in this nation.

Children Locked Up in America (Radio Interview)

Mass Incarceration: Where it Starts, With Our Youth

Following up from last weeks show on Mass Incarceration, which focused on adults, this week the focus is on mass incarceration of our youth. In contrast to adult incarceration, where there has been bipartisan attention from U.S. Politicians, the youth problem is all but ignored during the campaigns. The issue is a big one so it is hard to understand why it is avoided like the plague by our politicians. In fact, I could not find a single quote on the internet about youth incarceration from politicians.

Private: Today’s KARA Radio Interview With Sarah Westall (3pm – and podcasted afterwards)

Black youth males are incarcerated at 5 times the rate of white males. However, white males are still incarcerated at many times more the rate of other developed countries. Perhaps this data is an indicator of the deep racial tensions that exist in our country?

The youth incarceration rate does not include 250,000 youth who are tried, sentenced, or incarcerated as adults every year across the U.S. According to the Campaign for Youth Justice, most of the youth prosecuted in adult court are charged with non violent offenses. Youth in adult prisons rarely receive appropriate age level education, are targets of sexual and physical abuse, and are 36 times more likely to commit suicide than youth in juvenile detention facilities.

The cost to society to lock up people is substantial. A prisoner will cost the tax payer between $40,000 to $60,000 each year depending on the state. Compared to school at an average of $10,000 per year, Big Brother Big Sister mentoring program at $1000 per year, and a mental health professional each week at $5000 per year, it’s obvious that we can do much better with much less.

I’m Not The Crazy One (20,000 one & two year old’s on Prozac – now that’s crazy)

90% of mental health hospital beds that were available in the 1960’s are gone today while our overall population grew over 40% in that time.

When America eliminated mental health hospitals in the 60’s, teachers, juvenile and criminal justice workers and social workers became defacto mental health service providers. This is no small feat. Humans are complex beings and understanding a mind takes extensive effort & training (especially a traumatized or troubled mind). Few service providers get that training.

 

Buy Our Book INVISIBLE CHILDREN an accurate portrayal of America’s treatment of at risk children and how it impacts children and our communities

 

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