Jody Owens Mississippi Explains Why Mississippi has One of the Worst School-to-Prison Pipelines in the United States

Society has often failed many a disadvantaged person, and one such failing is the School-to-Prison pipeline. Jody Owens Mississippi explains how this system hurts Mississippians.

Address / Website / Date / A controversial system that seems to have manifested in many states, if not all of them, is the school-to-prison pipeline. The school-to-prison pipeline refers to a system where students, once they graduate or otherwise leave school, seem to go straight into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. This is due to a combination of learning disabilities, a poor family history, and systemic racism, which introduces a number of obstacles that are outside of the control of those students. Some states have greater issues with this than others, and Jody Owens Mississippi explains why Mississippi residents may have it the worst of all of them.

Jody Owens Mississippi explains why Mississippi residents face one of the biggest school-to-prison pipelines

Jody Owens Mississippi points out that in recent years, Mississippi has faced a lot of negative attention for the school-to-prison pipeline system formulated by civil rights and class issues in the state. In 2012, a civil rights case was filed against the city of Meredian, Mississippi, with allegations that children of color and disabled students were being unfairly targeted with police action for minor school infractions. Not only that, but the children were not explained their rights or given access to counsel while in custody, and worse yet, they were subjected to cruel and unusual punishment while in prison, including having small confinements or having mace employed in response to even minor misbehavior, Jody Owens Mississippi laments.

The Department of Justice intervened in the city’s operations, Jody Owens Mississippi notes, threatening to file a federal lawsuit in the event that the problem is not alleviated facing students of color and/or disabled students, claiming that what they were experiencing constituted a constitutional violation. Mississippi was also criticized by Judge Sarah Sigalas for sending students with minor behavioral issues to her courtroom, saying that this needlessly fuels the school-to-prison pipeline. What is perhaps most shocking, Jody Owens Mississippi notes, is that children of color sent to Youth Court in 2014 in Sunflower Country, Mississippi comprises a staggering 97 percent of all children sent to the Youth Court.

Jody Owens Mississippi notes that efforts have been made, however, to counteract the school-to-prison system, both in and outside of Mississippi. It is a lousy issue for Mississippi, to be sure, but a problem that faces children of color all across the United States. Organizations in Mississippi that are working to combat it include the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, The Sunflower County Systems Change Project, and Mississippi Center for Justice; nationwide, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union have made great efforts to combat it. Jody Owens Mississippi hopes to see more progress made on this.