Cradle to Prison Pipleline

This morning I was given a copy of the Children Defense Fund’s report, “America’s Cradle to Prison Pipeline.” It’s an excellent resource for data related to the multiple ongoing breakdowns in our pre-school, school, and juvenile justice systems. There is a long section on school discipline issues, and another on juvenile justice issues. It’s worth a read.

The publication ends with a call to action, of course. It includes in an appendix descriptions of programs that are having a positive impact. Function Family Therapy (provided in Sonoma County by Social Advocates for Youth) is listed.  I eagerly read the text hoping to see some mention of restorative practices; perhaps some mention of the exemplary work being done by IIRP.  But there was none. Not a peep. This highlights how much more work the field has to do before our methods are widely recognized and deployed.

As I read about the great programs that are listed, I wished I had the resources to visit each one of them. What if we could explore together how the restorative way could be integrated into their existing efforts? Because restorative practices are not a program, but a philosophy and methodology that can be incorporated into just about any other program. I can envision having circles with the leaders of these programs, where together we directly experience the power of the circle way while exploring the potentials of the restorative way. What a powerful way this would be to leverage existing resources. (Note to major donors and funders: if this idea intrigues you, I would like to introduce you to Ted Wachtel,, a man that could make it happen if anyone can.)

School to Prison

Here’s an image that Kris Miner sent to me, a cartoon that summarizes much of the CDF report. It’s worth a 1,000 words, but you should still read the report, which has quite few more than 1,000 words in it, all of them of value.


One Response

  1. Great use of the Cartoon. Thanks for sharing your review of the dccument. You are correct – we have some work to do! What you mention her reminds of a project I just learned about earlier today. The Charter for Compassion.

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