Juvenile Law Center

Juvenile and Criminal Justice|Education

School-to-Prison Pipeline

Current school disciplinary policies push youth into the legal system too readily, creating a direct school-to-prison “pipeline.” We aim to dismantle this one-way track through law and policy changes. Juvenile Law Center advocates to: (1) curb unnecessary referrals from schools to the justice system; (2) ensure that youth in the justice system receive appropriate education so that they may resume their education in their communities; and (3) establish appropriate re-entry strategies to support youth in their successful return to school after placement.

To achieve these objectives, we employ four key strategies: publication of relevant materials for juvenile and child welfare professionals, litigation, public education, and training. We also collaborate with numerous organizations, including:

  • Dignity in Schools, a national campaign that unites youth, parents, advocates, and educators to challenge the systemic problem of “push out” in our nation’s schools
  • Pennsylvania Academic and Career/Technical Training Alliance (PACTT), which strives to improve the educational options available to delinquent youth both in residential placement and in their home communities
  • Community Responses to Zero Tolerance, a collective of local parent, student, and community advocacy organizations who work to reduce the use of exclusionary discipline in Philadelphia public schools
  • Pennsylvania School Climate Coalition (PSCC), which utilizes legal, rational, and ethical leverage to disassemble the school-to-prison pipeline in Pennsylvania and improve education-related policies and practices from the federal to the local levels
  • The National Working Group on Juvenile Justice and Education, launched by Juvenile Law Center in 2011, through which advocates from across the nation work to ensure youth receive a high-quality education while placed in juvenile detention and correctional facilities
  • School-to-Prison Pipeline Legal Strategies Collaborative, a national working group that develops legal strategies to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline



Last updated January 2013