Closing the Pipeline: a Memorandum to de Blasio

And he could help stem the tide of fear-based policy-making that does more harm than good to our children’s future.


It’s Time to Close New York’s School-to-Prison Pipeline: How Bill de Blasio can help solve the twin problems of over-policing and under-educating in one swoop

“The result, according to the NYCLU, is that kids with criminal records consisting mostly of minor infractions that could have been resolved in school face further discrimination when applying for college, scholarships and jobs. This can also have an effect on whether their families are eligible to live in public housing, since people with criminal records are barred from many government assistance programs. And this doesn’t even take into account the psychological toll that coming into contact with the criminal justice system can have on students who are still wading through the thickets of childhood development.”

Read more on Mychal Denzel Smith‘s strong dictation to Bill de Blasio on his potential and memorandum as the new mayor of New York City – the policy purveyor city of the United States with potential to overhaul institutionally problematized prison-to-pipeline policies for young adults.


Fresh from Texas: a revelation that counseling is key

“They’re not bad children,” said Bobby Jacobs, a gray-haired, retired public school principal who is one of about two dozen staff members handpicked to work in the program. “They just made bad choices.”


Giving Juveniles Intensive Counseling

Published: September 1, 2012

MART — The green-black lines of prison life are scrawled on 16-year-old Luis’s face: a cross on his left cheek, three dots arranged in a triangle under his left eye and “cholo” written vertically on his right cheek.

It is a stark institution that holds more than 300 juveniles. There are no trees. Metal buildings are surrounded by concertina wire curling high above the perimeter. A single basketball hoop in the corner of the grounds is fenced off for recreation, a faded basketball lodged in the razor wire overhead.

Structure and personal attention are the priorities. Nearly every moment of the day is filled with counseling, school time, meals or recreation. The staff-youth ratio is small, one to four, compared with a ratio of one to 12 in the other juvenile facilities.A diagram of the “anger control cycle” reminds them to sense physical signs of escalation and control their behavior.

To Mr. Carter [dorm supervisor], the success of the Phoenix Program is its simplicity: giving youths the attention and structure they need to focus on making a future for themselves.

Now [Luis] recognizes the physical cues that mean his anger is escalating.

Herein, lies the power for change:

  • small staff-to-student ratio
  • structured positive, exploratory, activities
  • behavioral management through self awareness and group dialogue
  • goal setting, and ‘goal meeting,’ through support and positively high expectations

“It’s really the system’s failures that are creating these horrible environments,” Mr. Magnuson said, “and unfortunately it’s these kids’ lives at stake, their futures.”

Read full article here

What can be learned from the ‘new’ Texas example?