Federal government tells schools to stop sending kids to jail
In January 2014, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice issued new guidelines for school administrators regarding discipline policies.
January 28, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Federal government tells schools to stop sending kids to jail
Article provided by Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C.
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According to the Annie E. Casey foundation, the U.S. has the highest juvenile incarceration rate per capita than any other country in the world. Part of the reason that the juvenile incarceration rate is so high in the U.S. stems from the rigid discipline policies of schools across the country. In January 2014, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice issued new guidelines for school administrators regarding discipline policies. The new regulations are part of an effort to stem the rising tide of juveniles who are going to prison for relatively minor violations of school policies.
The new guidelines are a result of the effort of a collaboration between the Department of Education and the Department of Justice called the Strategic School Discipline Initiative started in 2011. The goal of the project was to address the so-called "school-to-prison pipeline," the prevalence of "zero-tolerance" discipline policies in schools across the country that suspend students or even land juveniles in jail for breaking school rules. The infractions in many cases are not threats to public safety, including dress code violations, showing "disrespect" by laughing in class, schoolyard fights, and truancy.
Negative impact on children
Zero-tolerance policies often remove all discretion from school administrators, meaning that they force school administrators to impose harsh punishment on juveniles for minor infractions. Such policies are counterproductive, as they make students feel less safe in schools and disrupt the learning process.
The discipline policies often impact minority students disproportionately. According to Department of Education data, one in five black male students received an out-of-school suspension in 2012. The data also shows that black students with disabilities are three times as likely to be expelled as other students. Additionally, frequent contact with the criminal justice system makes juveniles more likely to commit offenses later in life, according to several studies. Early contact with the criminal justice system also haunts juveniles in other ways: it can make it difficult to finish their education and often prevents them from finding employment.
Talk to an attorney
With the ever-increasing criminalization of what was once considered normal youthful behavior, it is imperative that juveniles facing criminal charges have an experienced juvenile defense attorney protecting their rights. Juvenile justice systems often operate differently than adult criminal justice systems, so it is important that juveniles facing criminal charges have an attorney who is well-versed in the procedures of the juvenile justice system.
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