Breaking the Systemic Cycle of the School to Prison Pipeline

We need a transition budget, because unfortunately,  we have a large number of community members who are incarcerated.

I recently visited the State Prisons on Wilmot.  We stopped in to visit the Juveniles who are bringing in young ladies.  We talked for a while with one of the Correction Officers… In fact,  she is one of the supervisors.  Her ideas were great for supporting the incoming inmates, meeting them where they are, and helping them transition back into the community.

Compassion, dedication, education, empathy, empowerment… all necessary in restoring relationships.

In the adult facilities, I visited the facilities with different levels of supervision.  I observed inmates who were subversively challenging the Corrections Officers  (I think it was mostly posturing and saving face) —  being hard, because the belief (and unfortunate reality) is that being soft is a death sentence.  I believe that can change.

In the lower security open facility where the inmates had a large space with bunk beds and their personal belongings piled high in makeshift privacy screens… we met two philosophers, working on creating a program for inmates to help them understand their impact on the community.

It was a beautifully conflicted oxymoron.

We need facilitators of learning, trained in crisis and emergency response.  We need training in meeting individuals where they are.

We can do better.  We can be responsible, hold one another accountable (not as a “gotcha”), and we can allow others (and ourselves) to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Yes, we want vengeance.  However  vengeance begets vengeance… another systemic cycle.  Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting.  Forgiveness frees us from the burden, allowing us to move forward for ourselves, our families, friends,  and community.

We have the power to end the school to prison pipeline.

“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life.   Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.” 

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