October 17, 2019 3:18 pm
Rebecca Epstein from Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality, and Susan Burton, founder of “A New Way of Life” Reentry Project, introduce and explain how there is a sexual abuse-to-prison pipeline where girls, disproportionately girls of color, are being criminalized for being victimized. They are survivors and should be supported instead of punished. According to an FBI report, 59 percent of juvenile prostitution arrests are Black. There is a cyclical dimension of the relationship between punitive approaches to girls in trouble and the trouble that comes when those punitive approaches force them further outside an existing institution. There is a correlation between girls being pushed out of school and girls being trafficked. What is happening in schools that result in this outcome? When she is pushed out of school, she is pushed into the streets—underground economies that leave her vulnerable to violence, incarceration, or death. Schools are places where connection and healing can facilitate community. When a girl is suspended, she loses that experience.