Living the Dream

I was sitting at a table with a fellow prisoner more than 20 years ago. We were taking a break from our work in the staff kitchen, smoking cigarettes and talking about some forgotten subject. The room we were in was one of the few places where I could relax, since it was a restricted area and usually quiet. One of his friends walked into the room, paused, and stared at us for a few seconds. He made a comment about talking to a white guy, a “cracker.” My coworker, who was black, just laughed and said, “We’re living the dream of Dr. King.”

I had of course heard of Dr. King, but in that world his influence and ideas seemed pretty far away most of the time.

John Lash

Assessing the Cradle-To-School-To-Prison Pipeline

For some time I have read about the “school to prison pipeline,” an idea that links zero tolerance policies, school policing, disproportionate minority contact with disciplinary processes, and other factors to the increased incarceration of minority youth. The basic idea is that the system formed by these practices and structures contributes to putting more kids in prison. Lately, I have come across a similar term, the cradle to prison pipeline. This is the phrase trademarked by the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). It is daunting to consider that societal structures and policies can have such an affect on a newborn.