Thanks to a $122 billion infusion of federal funds for public education included in the March 2021 American Rescue Plan, schools and communities have the opportunity to invest vast resources in effective new approaches to close the school-to-prison pipeline. The Sentencing Project has examined the plans submitted by every state for use of these federal funds. The analysis is summarized in two new documents:
- State Action to Narrow the School-to-Prison Pipeline (Part One): A Review of State Plans for Allocating the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund offers an overview of what was and wasn’t included in state plans to reduce reliance on exclusionary discipline, remove police from schools and minimize arrests, and enhance educational opportunities for youth involved in the justice system.
- State Action to Narrow the School-to-Prison Pipeline (Part Two): Encouraging Examples from State Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) Plans provides encouraging examples from the state plans describing specific action steps states are taking to address the school-to-prison pipeline – steps that might provide inspiration for others states seeking ideas for how they might utilize the ESSER funds to support students and narrow the school to prison pipeline.
These new documents build off of our August 2021 report, Back to School Action Guide: Re-Engaging Students and Closing the School-to-Prison Pipeline. In addition, The Sentencing Project has also created a fact sheet about the ESSER funding stream and a list of initial recommended steps for advocates to consider to start making their voices heard in discussions about how to allocate the ESSER funds.