Virginia’s pipeline to jail

Virginia's aggressive approach to referring kids to police isn't a model for changing behavior; it's a pipeline to jail says this editorial.

Editorial (Virginia)

Virginian-Pilot (The Pilot)
May 11, 2015
Link to story

Tags: Benefits of Legal Aid, Children & Juvenile, Schools: Discipline

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Justice Center (Virginia)


Disorderly conduct, as Angela Ciolfi, legal director of the JustChildren Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, notes, “includes intent to cause inconvenience or annoyance at a school.

“How many teenagers do you know who commit that ‘crime’ every day?” she asked. “Wouldn’t such a ‘crime’ ordinarily win you a trip to the principal’s office?”

Sadly, once a student enters the justice system, his chances of coming back greatly increase. “Research shows that even one court referral can have devastating consequences, in some cases resulting in a juvenile justice record and placing children on a path toward prison rather than high school graduation and college,” according to Ciolfi and Sarah Gross, legislation chair for the Virginia PTA.