Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Cradle to the Prison Pipeline Initiative

Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) wants to know why are 1 in 3 black boys ending up in prison?

She wants us to consider that today, 580,000 Black males are serving sentences in state or federal prison, while fewer than 40,000 Black males earn a bachelor's degree each year, stating, "For a nation that claims to be the world's greatest democracy and a beacon for justice and freedom, the "Cradle to Prison Pipeline" is a national disgrace that costs billions of dollars, ruins tens of thousands of our children and deprives us of the young talent that could build a brighter future."

The Children's Defense Fund held a national Cradle to Prison Pipeline® Summit at Howard University, September 25-26, 2007 to address the nationwide crisis and its devastating impact on children, youth and their families, particularly within the Black and Latino communities. Among the speakers were CDF President Marian Wright Edelman, as well as Dr. Bill Cosby and Morehouse College President Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, Jr. who underscored the role of families and communities in raising healthy children with an ethic of achievement.

At this summit, the CDF unveiled a report, America's Cradle to Prison Pipeline that documents this crisis citing that tens of thousands of teens are sucked into the pipeline each year.

One of the strategies identified as a promising way to reduce this crisis is mentoring. The report highlights the Big Brothers Big Sisters model, citing that in 2005, 84% of teachers reported that youth who were mentored at school improved in at least one academic subject.

For more information and to download the report, visit the website here. Note: They also have cradle to prison pipeline data for each state!

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