† Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, and author of The School-to- Prison Pipeline: Education, Discipline and Racialized Double Standards, is the Editor of CI. Kay Whitlock, co-author of Queer (In)Justice and Considering Hate, is co-founder of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm CST.
New Book ~ The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Education, Discipline, and Racialized Double Standards
by nancy a heitzeg
I am pleased to let everyone know that my new book — The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Education, Discipline, and Racialized Double Standards – will be available later this month. It is published by Praeger and is available for pre-order here and here. There are a multitude of books on the school-to-prison pipeline, but this one is unique.
This book offers a research and comparison-driven look at the school-to-prison pipeline, its racial dynamics, the connections to mass incarceration, and our flawed educational climate—and suggests practical remedies for change.
How is racism perpetuated by the education system, particularly via the “school-to-prison pipeline?” How is the school to prison pipeline intrinsically connected to the larger context of the prison industrial complex as well as the extensive and ongoing criminalization of youth of color? This book uniquely describes the system of policies and practices that racialize criminalization by routing youth of color out of school and towards prison via the school-to-prison pipeline while simultaneously medicalizing white youth for comparable behaviors.
This work is the first to consider and link all of the research and data from a sociological perspective, using this information to locate racism in our educational systems; describe the rise of the so-called prison industrial complex; spotlight the concomitant expansion of the “medical-industrial complex” as an alternative for controlling the white and well-off, both adult and juveniles; and explore the significance of media in furthering the white racial frame that typically views people of color as “criminals” as an automatic response. The author also examines the racial dynamics of the school to prison pipeline as documented by rates of suspension, expulsion, and referrals to legal systems and sheds light on the comparative dynamics of the related educational social control of white and middle-class youth in the larger context of society as a whole.
- Provides readers with an understanding of the realities of the school-to-prison pipeline—its history, development, and racialized context and meaning—as well as the continued significance of race and other socially differentiating factors in shaping public policy and everyday decisions regarding “deviance,” “discipline,” and social control
- Examines the under-explored dynamic that places a predominantly white teaching staff in schools that are predominantly schools of color, and considers the roles that stereotypes and cultural conflicts play in the labeling of students
- Suggests viable options for action towards dismantling the institutionalized racism revealed by the school-to-prison pipeline via both policy reforms and transformational alternatives
- Presents information relevant to a range of college courses, such as education, sociology of deviance, sociology of education, youth studies, legal studies, criminal justice, and racial/ethnic studies
The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Education, Discipline, and Racialized Double Standards is part of Praeger’s series on Racism in American Institutions. As a preview, here is the foreword from series editor, Brian D. Behnken, Department of History & U.S. Latino/a Studies ProgramIowa State University:
“While Praeger Publisher’s series Racism in American Institutions (RAI) has explored various aspects of institutionalized racism in education, The School to Prison Pipeline is the first book to examine how educational policies lead to mass incarceration. The book thus merges institutionalized racism in schools with the institutionalized racism in the criminal justice system. The RAI series focuses on the ways in which racism has become, and remains, a part of the fabric of many American institutions. For example, while the United States may have done away with overtly racist acts such as extralegal lynching, racism still affects many of America’s established institutions from public schools to corporate offices. While the media discarded many of its most racist practices and characters years ago, stereotypical depictions of people of color remain with us. Schools were supposed to be integrated after 1954, yet today many American schools remain one-race schools. This open-ended series examines the problem of racism in established American institutions. Each book in the RAI Series traces the prevalence of racism within a particular institution throughout the history of the U.S. and explores the problem in that institution today, looking at ways in which the institution has attempted to rectify racism, but also the ways in which it has not.
The School to Prison Pipeline examines a critically important subject. The school to prison or cradle to prison pipeline is a concept that explains how so many young people of color seem to go directly from school to jail. It explains how race and criminalization continue to go hand in hand. In many cases the pipeline emerged from schools’ zero-tolerance policies; policies that were designed to send a powerful message about school behavior and expectations, that were supposed to be color-blind, but that often demonstrated differential treatment for white students and students of color. Zero tolerance policies also go far in explaining differences in treatment for white and nonwhite students. For example, while a young black male may be expelled from school for fighting, a young while male might receive psychological counseling instead. The treatment thus differs and the broader societal perceptions of each of these students also differ. The school to prison pipeline also explains how schools have become entangled with law enforcement. Schools frequently now have police on staff to protect school buildings, staff, and students, but these police are also often the enforcers of district zero-tolerance policies, bringing young people – from elementary students to high schoolers – into contact with law enforcement and the criminal justice system at a very young age.
Sociologist Nancy A. Heitzeg has researched and written on these issues for many years. Her work in The School to Prison Pipeline examines the school to prison pipeline in almost every possible, conceivable way. The books moves seamlessly from a detailed explanation of the school to prison pipeline to a fascinating chapter on how the school to prison pipeline serves as a method of social control. She also explores mass incarceration, punitive educational punishment policies versus other less severe forms of punishment, and the growing criticisms of the school to prison pipeline. Most importantly, Dr. Heitzeg demonstrates conclusively that the school to prison pipeline exacerbates racialized mass criminalization, which facilitates the flow of people of color and the poor from schools and into the criminal justice system.
The School to Prison Pipeline explores an important subject, one that profoundly impacts the lives of millions of young Americans on daily basis. Zero tolerance policies, color-blind policies (which are frequently racist), and mass incarceration have all worked together to create the school to prison pipeline. That pipeline has worked to further institutionalize racism in the American educational arena.”
Hope you read this and that it does your time justice. Thanks as always to all of you for your support of my work — hoping too. as always. that illumination contributes in any way possible to an end to the pipeline and abolition.