02 Aug 2022
We are not all at equal risk of encountering the criminal justice system. The path to entering prison is neither short nor straightforward. There are often a number of contributing and interconnected factors including poverty, ethnic and social inequalities, mental ill health, and exclusion from school. These can all be significant drivers in channelling vulnerable children into the criminal justice system. Early interventions must be made to help divert children away from these pathways before they become entrenched. The ‘school to prison pipeline’ is a term used to describe the path from school exclusion to entry into prison. Increasingly, schools are moving towards no tolerance policies which result in permanent exclusions, particularly for children from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller and other ethnic minority backgrounds. These children are overrepresented in Young Offender Institutions.