Surveys conducted by the Department of Justice have found that 85% of incarcerated youth can’t read. This unsettling link between illiteracy—something that is determined as early as five years old—and one’s likelihood of arrest is shocking. Given the disproportionate representation of black youth in our juvenile justice system, it’s evident that the lack of good schools, adequate funding, and resources in minority communities are the mechanisms by which African-American students are flushed down the school-to-prison pipeline.
Brandon Griggs has witnessed firsthand the inequities that permeate our education system; he’s also proud that as a 4.0 student and EVAC movement member, he is redefining stereotypes and setting an example for other black teens. Juvenile justice reform, Brandon argues, begins in our kindergarten classrooms, because keeping kids out of prison starts with giving them basic literacy skills.