Philadelphia reduces school-based arrests by 91% since 2013 – researchers explain the effects of keeping kids out of the legal system

By The Conversation, Amanda NeMoyer, | December 4, 2023

Former Stoneleigh Fellow Naomi Goldstein and her Drexel University colleague Amanda NeMoyer published an article for The Conversation on the implementation and outcomes of Philadelphia’s Police School Diversion Program.

Across the United States, arrest rates for young people under age 18 have been declining for decades. However, the proportion of youth arrests associated with school incidents has increased.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, K-12 schools referred nearly 230,000 students to law enforcement during the school year that began in 2017. These referrals and the 54,321 reported school-based arrests that same year were mostly for minor misbehavior like marijuana possession, as opposed to more serious offenses like bringing a gun to school.

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