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Addressing the 'School To Prison Pipeline' on Thursday's Access Utah


A 2014 report titled Finger Paint to Fingerprints: The School-to-Prison Pipeline in Utah from the Public Policy Clinic at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at University of Utah found that discipline handed down to some students was diverting them out of public schools and into the criminal justice system "through a combination of overly harsh zero-tolerance school policies and the increased involvement of law enforcement in schools."



According to the Deseret News, the report noted that suspension and expulsion rates are closely correlated with dropout and delinquency rates, and found that students who were suspended even once were more likely to drop out of school, and that nearly 70% of the U.S. prison population consisted of high school dropouts. The report concluded that nonwhite students and students with mental disabilities received a disproportionate share of the discipline handed out.


On Thursday’s Access Utah we’ll examine this School-to-Prison Pipeline. Our guests include Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, who is planning to introduce a bill to address the problem in this legislative session; University of Utah law school student Vanessa Walsh, who is one of the authors of the Public Policy Clinic’s report; Luis Garza, Executive Director of Communities United;  Nubia Pena, Coordinator forRacially Just Utah; and Leah Farrell, Staff Attorney at ACLU Utah.


Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.