Prelude to Prison
Student Perspectives on School Suspension
"Weissman addresses a set of twinned issues
that are critical for our understanding of urban
education, criminal justice and youth development
through a lens of racial injustice: the
school to prison pipeline, and growing surveillance/
securitization within public schools. She
offers a compelling analysis of these dynamics
through the voices and from the perspectives
of young people who know, and have seen
too much."—Michelle Fine, Distinguished Professor of psychology
and urban education, The Graduate Center, CUNY
"Weissman interweaves her own background, experiences, and insights
drawn from her work as a community organizer and advocate
for prisoners and youth to cover the extremely important topic of the
school-to-prison pipeline, in one of the first books (if not the first) to
include and thoroughly incorporate the voices of youth who are directly
impacted by the trend."—Tamar Birckhead, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law
Marsha Weissman is the founder and executive director of the Center for Community Alternatives.
For more than thirty years, the center has worked to end mass incarceration through
alternative-to-incarceration programs for youth and adults and research and policy advocacy
to educate the public and policy makers regarding needs for a more effective juvenile and
criminal justice system.
Book Description »[Hide »]
By the close of the twentieth century, the United States became known for its
reliance on incarceration as the chief means of social control, particularly
in poor communities of color. The carceral state has been extended into the
public school system in these communities in what has become known as the
"school-to-prison pipeline." Through interviews with young people suspended
from school, Weissman examines the impact of zero tolerance and other harsh
disciplinary approaches that have transformed schools into penal-like institutions.
In their own words, students describe their lives, the challenges they face,
and their efforts to overcome those challenges. Unlike other studies, this book
illuminates the students’ perspectives on what happens when the educational
system excludes them from regular school.
Weissman draws attention to research findings that suggest punitive disciplinary
policies and practices resemble criminal justice strategies of arrest, trial,
sentence, and imprisonment. She demonstrates how harsh school discipline
prepares young people from poor communities of color for their place in the
carceral state. An invaluable resource for policy makers, Prelude to Prison presents
recommendations for policy, practice, and political change that have the
potential to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.
View other series books on Syracuse Studies on Peace and Conflict Resolution.
6 x 9, 288 pages, notes, bibliography, index