Judah Schept, Tyler Wall, and Avi Brisman


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Building, Staffing and Insulating: An Architecture of Criminological Complicity in the School-to-Prison Pipeline

The concept of the school-to-prison pipeline illuminates and dissects the continuum between education and incarceration. Most often, the concept is deployed to call attention to the criminalization of youth of color in urban schools and the mechanisms that facilitate their entry into the juvenile and adult carceral systems. This article argues for a more capacious understanding of this continuum by examining the role of criminal justice and criminology higher education in its creation, sustainment, and justification. As high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools increasingly subject their students to surveillance, criminalization, arrest, adjudication and incarceration, the university produces the personnel and knowledge necessary for the process to occur: the police in the schools, the guards in the detention centers, and the veneer of epistemic legitimacy. In this article, three professors of justice studies excavate these contours of the pipeline and consider ways in which to intervene in and disrupt this component of the continuum.

school-to-prison pipeline, surveillance, criminalization of youth

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 41, No. 4 (2014): 96-115


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