Schools work to avoid ‘pipeline to prison’

Juvenile justice experts in New Jersey say they’re concerned that school leaders are calling police for minor infractions that end up in the criminal justice system instead of using social services.

The Record newspaper reports the state has been credited with reducing the percentage of juveniles who wind up in the criminal justice system over the last decade. But there’s debate over whether too many are being charged with minor offenses.

A report shows police were notified by school officials more than 5,000 times in the last academic year throughout the state. A criminal complaint was filed in nearly half of those cases.

New Jersey Education Commissioner David Hespe said at a statewide forum on “avoiding the school-to-prison pipeline” that educators should work to keep low-risk children in school.

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