AbstractSchools are installing zero tolerance policies which are modeled after prison policies in response to violent attacks occurring on school grounds during the past two decades.
Prison policies look futile in preventing violent occurrences. Their statistics show that the policies or facilities are not the problem, meaning improvement may rely on a more sociological approach to how the prisoners are identified. High risk level prisoners have been observed to be more violent than low risk level prisoners along with maximum security level prisoners that only have high risk level prisoners are known to have higher rates of misconduct than low security level prisoners regardless of the amount of force and resources used at each facility.
Therefore, by treating students in the similar manner as such prisoners would mean to socialize them into such individuals which creates more violent outbursts on school campuses rather than removing violent occurrences from happening completely. IntroductionThere have been a number of school shootings in the recent years that has had parents and school faculty frightened for the lives of their children. Some school districts believe they have found the solution. They believe having prison style schools would be able to prevent such violence like shootings from happening if they instill the same security measures that prisons have.
By doing this, schools even theorize that not just the country’s school shootings would go down, but so would general school violence like school yard fights and bullying. Once these prison style schools were instilled with policies that they call, zero tolerance policies, the results have shown to have made schools much worse. Prison style schools are ineffective in preventing violence at schools since prisons themselves cannot even stop the violence at their facilities due to the fact that they have failed to realize it is not the environment or security measures that affect the numbers of violence, but is instead mainly their identity that affect the violence numbers which is what zero tolerance policies will exactly mold their students into. The goal of this paper is to look at past research and connect the information between each one to convince the readers that prison policies fail at preventing violence from happening on premises due to the way they socialize their prisoners to be identified with the high security level prisoners and low security level prisoners which translates in a similar manner to schools that are using zero tolerance policies inspired by prison policies. Literature ReviewPrison Violence: Assault Statistics Violence in prisons is not a foreign event which tend to take form as assaults and sexual assaults. Fuller’s research has the statistics for the rate of victimization in offense reports which are lacking due to the definition of victimization varying between institutions and inmates not reporting themselves as victims of assault making the statistics look like they are only 1.
7 percent (Fuller, 1977). When 400 inmates were interviewed in six various North Carolina prisons, the total that admit they have been attackers themselves comes up to 19.4 percent (Fuller, 1977). New research by Chen and Shapiro published in 2007 states that 22 percent of federal maximum-security rates and 16 percent of federal minimum-security inmates were injured seriously during their incarceration (as cited by Listwan, Daigle, Hartman, and Guastaferro, 2014). Researchers Blitz, Wolff, and Shi published in 2008 have found in their sample of a state prison population that 24 percent of female prisoners and 35 percent of male prisoners have reported being physically victimized in prison (as cited by Listan, Daigle, Hartman, and Guastaferro, 2014). Mumola found out in 2002 was also a year that was reported to have almost 3,000 prison deaths with 48 of them classified as homicide (as cited by Listwan, Daigle, Hartman, and Guastaferro, 2014).
Their Classification Becomes Their IdentityThe idea behind why these happen is due to the composition of who is a prisoner in a prison, particularly in regards to what security risk level each prisoner is. Irwin observed that California had facilities that separate low risk level inmates in warehouse prisons and high risk level inmates in supermax prisons which had the warehouse prisons have rare occurrences of violence while supermax facilities had three to four times higher violence rates (as cited in Woolredge & Steiner, 2015). These high risk level inmates tend to be classified as such and sent to these supermax facilities due to their actions in prison as like in the U.S.
Penitentiary Administrative Maximum (ADX) which is the Federal Bureau of Prison’s most secure facility having 20 percent committed murder or attempted murder of another prisoner, 18 percent committing assault with a weapon towards another prisoner, 16 percent committed serious assault on a staff member, 10 percent tried for a serious escape attempt, and 5 percent rioted. (Hershberger, 1998). Shermer, Bierie, and Stock would argue that using risk-classification to anticipate misconduct is from facility-level contamination would make more violence more likely to happen in supermax facilities due to the fact that the most violent inmates are grouped together (Shermer, Bierie, & Stock, 2012). These inmates know each other are considered the most dangerous out of all the prisoners if they are put in a supermax facilities so they live up to their expectations. Hirschfield would argue schools instilling zero tolerance policy that resembles law enforcement policies would be treating students like criminals or soon-to-be criminals making them feel criminalized and accepting that label (Hirschfield, 2008).The Correlation Between Zero Tolerance and the Law Enforcement Methods Zero tolerance school policies are what are making schools lean towards prison style schools and law enforcement methods which are disrupting school’s purpose itself.
Hirschfield states that these policies make the school more focused on preventing and punishing crime and less on preparing children for work and acting as everyday citizens (Hirschfield, 2008). Schools are starting to have armed police, guard and sniffer dogs, or metal detectors as well as gates, barricades, and walls, inspired by prisons for the sake of enforcing zero tolerance policy of no drugs, alcohol, tobacco, weapons, and violence (Hirschfield, 2008). Tuzzalo and Hewitt report every day in one high school in New Orleans were 31 to 40 security guards, two to four New Orleans Police Department Officers, and only 21 to 30 educators present at a given time, with class size rarely being more than 40 to 50 students (as cited by Schept, Wall & Brisman, 2015, p. 100).
The question is with all these resources, how much money are these schools actually spending on education, which should be their primary concern. The Purpose of Zero Tolerance To Protect Students Has FailedZero tolerance policies were made with the idea that they would prevent crime from happening at schools which would help students, but all it has done is hurt. Fuentes states that even in Miami-Dade Florida, arrests at school went from 820 in 1999 to 2435 in 2001, and simple assaults and miscellaneous offenses made up of 57 percent (as cited by Hirschfield, 2008). The difference between mandatory criminal sentences and zero tolerance policies is that zero tolerance policies have little consideration for the individual circumstances of each situation (Hirschfield, 2008). This makes these schools tougher than the country’s own law enforcement who take their own discretion in consideration of each situation instead of just executing punishments without hesitation. The literature review has deducted that prisons are not a good model for schools that are trying to prevent violence on their campuses since they cannot prevent violence on their own facilities. These facilities also possibly making more violence occur due to the way they organize their prisoners by putting all the high risk prisoners together which leads to their facilities having more crime since they accept this as their identity and therefore end up doing more violence in these facilities (Shermer et.
al, 2012). The schools are doing the same thing by convincing students that they are criminals since schools are copying their structure after prisons and law enforcement policies when they should be trying to actually teach their students instead (Hirschfield, 2008). The real way for violence to stop schools is to stop these zero tolerance policies of swift punishment and instead reconnect with the students and teach them to follow the rules, not enforce the rules onto them.
DiscussionMost people think of schools as a place to learn and its purpose is for the chance to get a high school diploma, free of cost, which would guarantee these new adults some sort of future, giving you the opportunity to study voluntarily at a college or even work basic jobs that could be achieved with a diploma alone if college is not preferred. These places are given money to mold these children into the country’s future workforce, yet for example looking at a high school in New Orleans, their employees consist of more guards than teachers. Armed police, guard and sniffer dogs, metal detectors, gates, barricades, and walls are also made of money that is being deducted from school budgets. This money is not going to education, it is going to fostering disobedience and distrust between the authority figures and the next generation who are under the impression that their authority figures do not believe they have the ability to be good children if they make just one mistake.
This one mistake could just be a simple assault or small offense that to zero policies, is worth calling the police for and leading to the arrest of children when a few decades ago, the same offenses could have easily been handled with a punishment given by the educator or principal in order to set them straight who would also probably understand how severe the punishment should be based on the circumstances which would be more just. Then, they end up living with that label on their record for the rest of their lives just as high risk level inmates in maximum level prisons do which is why those prisons are so violent and why student bodies end up having increasing statistics of arrests on campuses. Students that do not end up being arrested are still within an environment which they identify as prison since they would have obviously guards, gates, and barricades just like they would see on television so they still grow up under the similar idea. Modeling zero tolerance policies after law enforcement ideals and prison resources is also futile in removing violence in schools as well since violence is still occurring in prisons today. Looking again at a mere state prison in 1977 had a reported 19.
4 percent of prisoners that admitted to attacking other prisoners along 2007 statistics that are based on federal prisons which have 22 percent of prisoners seriously injured in maximum security level facilities and 16 percent of prisoners seriously injured in minimum security level facilities shows that despite it being three decades later, the numbers are not that different even though prisons, prison resources, and policies have most likely changed by now. Violence in prison is high since the prison facility attempts to lessen violence amongst the prison by assigning labels of low risk level and high risk level to different prisoners based on their behavior and would group them together this way. By doing so, the facility ends up with a large group of the most dangerous prisoners in one space, which could lead to these high risk level prisoners being around others who act similarly and they therefore can learn and be inspired by each other. They embrace this label and are willing to embody it as their identity, which the facility gave them, and the facilities with these high risk level prisoners end up being more violent overall. By inducing zero tolerance policies, the children are being labeled very similarly with the way they are treated as criminals with all these reinforcements that are appearing on their school campuses. They sense they are not being trusted and even considered possible threats since they are being checked everyday for weapons, drugs, and other items that are illegal to possess. This leads to them feeling isolated and lose respect for the school faculty because they are not trusted and feel like the school thinks of them more as a threat to society than children there to get an education.
This leads to the facility failing itself as an institution for educating children about their identity as future citizens who will be part of the workforce and could have a career in their dream jobs if they aim high. They are merely taught instead that their identity consists of the ability to commit crimes and that they should merely be kept in check, just as these high risk prisoners are taught. Conclusion The real issue with violence in prisons and violence in schools comes down to the labeling of these prisoners and students. They are given this identity by their authority figures since these policies the authority figures use obligate them to do so for the sake of order. Prison violence may be a continuous factor that will always be constant due to the nature of the facility, but school violence does not have to be if their zero tolerance policies are removed. By removing zero tolerance policies, the staff can go back to looking at each trouble situation individually based on circumstances and children will finally feel like human beings than future criminals. The staff can build connections with the students to build trust and respect which may even lead to a better education experience with them since the teacher would be able to have high influence on the children and be able to motivate them to be better and more intelligent people. Possible future research needed to prove this may include studies on schools that do not follow zero tolerance policies and may be in smaller towns which have a good sense of community to check the records of student disobedience there.