Dignity, Disparity and Desistance: Effective Restorative Justice Strategies to Plug the “School-to-Prison Pipeline
Editor's Note: This research is part of the “Closing the School Discipline Gap Conference” of January 2013. An overview of the research project can be found here; for a list of the sixteen studies presented, click here.
School suspensions and expulsions resulting from zero tolerance disciplinary policies have directly expanded the “school-to-prison pipeline” while disproportionately and negatively affecting minority students. This paper reviews current research on zero tolerance, evidence for the effectiveness of restorative justice in schools as an alternative to punitive disciplinary policies, and local and national policy efforts to increase use of restorative practices in schools. The evidence shows that RJ is viable school policy strategy for keeping students in school while also useful for redefining the collaborative role of justice professionals and educators in the school setting to keep youth in school and out of juvenile justice systems.