Impact Engines | Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline
The Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline (C2P) Impact Engine will support Northeastern’s C2P Project to create powerful resources supporting advocates who are working to dismantle the structural contributors to incarceration.
A web of legal and social systems rooted in structural racism disproportionally diverts Black, indigenous, Latinx, and LGBTQ youth, and youth with disabilities, toward juvenile and adult incarceration. According to the Sentencing Project, Black people are 7.4 times more likely, and Latinx people 4.1 times more likely, than White people to be incarcerated in state prisons in Massachusetts. Moreover, this disparity in Massachusetts’s Latinx incarceration rate is the highest in the nation. (The Sentencing Project, The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons, 2021.) And across communities, the systems that contribute to incarceration — beginning before birth and persisting through childhood, adolescence, the teen years, and beyond — interact in ways that reinforce harmful and reactive approaches to “public safety.”
Numerous gaps in data collected or reported by relevant public agencies is a problem repeatedly cited by advocates and policymakers as an obstacle to disrupting the cradle-to-prison pipeline. Improved data collection, transparency, and analysis are essential to dismantling the pipeline as a whole.
Northeastern’s C2P Project, launched in 2019 with a Northeastern tier 1 research grant, is building holistic representations of the interrelated contributors to mass incarceration in Massachusetts in order to help identify and validate policy interventions. To foster interdisciplinary collaboration, the C2P Project convenes advocates, activists, academics, and individuals with lived experience.
As one component of the C2P Project, the C2P Impact Engine will build an interactive data tool to provide advocates and policymakers with accurate information that can be used to disrupt the cradle-to-prison pipeline. In its first stage, the Impact Engine is amassing, analyzing and comprehensively incorporating education-related data — including Massachusetts data related to school discipline, school exclusions, and school policing, from early education through high school – into the interactive data tool.
By consolidating all data relating to operation of the cradle-to-prison pipeline – and, crucially, by making it publicly accessible, visually graspable and interactive – the data tool will inform targeted policy changes and help measure the impact of those reforms.
Moreover, any gaps in available data will highlight disparate levels of disclosure by public agencies – facilitating greater accountability and rewarding transparency and best data collection practices – as well as guide researchers to identify key questions that merit further original research.
By leveraging Northeastern’s research expertise, the interactive data tool will help free advocates and policymakers from the work of chasing missing data and reconciling discrepancies. In turn, more of their time and resources will be available to develop and implement bold structural changes.
The project aims to provide a model for other states and facilitate sharing of scalable solutions.
Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Center for Public Interest Advocacy and Collaboration (CPIAC), Northeastern University School of Law
Managing Director, Center for Public Interest Advocacy & Collaboration, Northeastern University School of Law
Assistant Teaching Professor and CPIAC Resident Fellow, Northeastern University School of Law
Professor of Law and Criminal Justice and CPIAC Resident Fellow, Northeastern University School of Law
Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict, Northeastern University College of Social Sciences and Humanities
First Justice-Massachusetts Juvenile Court, Middlesex Division, Ret.
Professor of Art + Design, Northeastern University College of Arts, Media, and Design
JD Fellow, Center for Public Interest Advocacy and Collaboration, Northeastern University School of Law
Graduate Student, College of Arts, Media and Design
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