The so-called “school-to-prison pipeline” is a trend in which children, particularly of certain racial and ethnic backgrounds and with learning disabilities or histories of poverty or neglect, are pushed out of schools into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Zero-tolerance policies that treat infractions of school rules as crimes are believed to be a big factor contributing to the problem.
According to the Juvenile Law Center, about 700,000 children were arrested in 2019. Juvenile courts across the U.S. hear nearly 800,000 cases each year. In several instances, these young individuals may be interrogated by police without an attorney or enter guilty pleas without fully understanding the consequences. These stories shed light on experiences with the juvenile justice system.
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