"School-to-prison pipeline" is a phrase that describes a set of policies and practices that push young people out of public schools and into the criminal justice system. It is a kind of shorthand that activists use to refer to places where schools are linked to the merciless tendrils of the prison system.
Most of us share an open secret. It reveals itself every time we head to the gym, or prepare for an interview or an important presentation, or, in my case, cleaning day. I cop a Beyoncé, and for a few shining moments I put on the costume of black masculinity. It's like a white tee. One size fits all.
A black boy born in 2001 has a one in three chance of going to prison in his lifetime and a Latino boy a one in six chance of the same fate. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world: 7.1 million adult residents -- one in 33 -- are under some form of correctional supervision including prison, jail, probation, or parole. Michelle Alexander writes in her bestselling book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness that there are more adult African Americans under correctional control today than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. In 2011, our state and federal prison population exceeded that of the top 35 European nations combined. Something's very wrong with this picture.