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

Drexel researchers evaluated a 2014 program implemented by Kevin Bethel when he was deputy police commissioner that led to fewer arrests of students in schools.

At the same time, violent crime dropped, contradicting many officers’ claims that a ‘get out of jail free card’ may lead youth to commit more crimes.


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

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

  1. This program appears to have had great success thus far. I think it is important to note that the article includes data that suggests fewer arrests of students are not associated with higher rates of violent incidents. As far as I can see, the only downside to this situation occurs for those who stand to profit from more heads in more beds within privatized prisons. Are there other programs or agendas that communities may consider implementing to combat the school-to-prison pipeline?

    1. You make a good point about those who stand to benefit from more heads in beds because there will always be someone who benefits from the school-to-prison pipeline. I think a few programs, after some research, could be restorative justice (almost like what was discussed) which would focus on accountability and reconciliation rather than punishment; diversion programs (something else that was kind of discussed) which provide students with the support and resources that can address and help the underlying cause of their behavior. These are just two great programs that can help combat school-to-prison pipelines. But these are programs that would work better if the community were all helping and pitching in; it takes a village!

  2. This is what happens when the police department and the school district, along with the surrounding community, actually collaborate for the sake of youth. It not only takes the school and the department, but it also takes at-home efforts. It’s really impressive that Philly was able to reduce school arrests as much as they did, as we all know that the school-to-prison pipeline is very real. I feel like this perfectly demonstrates what can be achieved when public safety, education, and the community can do when they work together to not focus solely on punishing a young person, and instead focus on “rehabilitating” the young individual. My question is if this kind of program/reform is highly successful and it saves the taxpayers a lot of money, which is one of the main “gripes” people have about programs like this one, what’s stopping other states from adopting it?

    1. You make a great point about the importance of both at-home efforts as well as community and local support. Unfortunately, in places not as densely populated or developed as Philadelphia there is often a lack of reliable and accessible resources available. The idea of diversion requires a destination for students to be diverted towards. For more states to adopt similar programs, gaps in the availability to local non-profits, mental health, and family resource agencies must be filled first.

  3. Not only do both at-home and community and local efforts need to be made students need another incentive like you suggested. That is usually where sports and clubs need to come into play, but with that being said there needs to be monetary funds that need to go towards that incentive to keep an individual away from criminal activities. That may be a problem because as seen in many states around the country school funding is not always seen as the main priority, especially in low-income areas. Making things difficult for those types of programs to excel and keep students away from crime.

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