Study Confirms School-to-Prison Pipeline


U.S. News & World Report: Lauren Camera - July 27, 2021

Researchers from Boston University, the University of Colorado Boulder and Harvard University sought to find whether a causal link exists between students who experience strict school discipline and being arrested or incarcerated as an adult, and whether attending a stricter school influences criminal activity in adulthood.

"Our findings show that early censure of school misbehavior causes increases in adult crime – that there is, in fact, a school-to-prison pipeline," the researchers wrote in an article published Tuesday in Education Next. "Any effort to maintain safe and orderly school climates must take into account the clear and negative consequences of exclusionary discipline practices for young students, and especially young students of color, which last well into adulthood."

Specifically, students assigned to stricter middle schools are 3.2 percentage points more likely to have been arrested, 2.5 percentage points more likely to have been incarcerated as adults. They were also 1.7 percentage points more likely to drop out of high school and 2.4 percentage points less likely to attend a four-year college.

The impacts are significantly more predictive for Black and Hispanic boys who attended strict middle schools. To read the full article, click here.