School of Criminal Justice Theses and Dissertations


From School to Prison: Assessing the Impact of Non-systemic Contributors to the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Justice and Human Services

First Advisor

Mary Clisbee

Second Advisor

Marcelo Castro

Third Advisor

Mengie M. Parker


The school-to-prison pipeline is an expansive issue that impacts the educational and criminal justice systems in the United States. Traditionally, the research has linked the prevalence of the pipeline to factors based within school systems. These systemic factors include the use of zero tolerance policies, exclusionary disciplinary practices, and the presence of school resource officers. The proposed study aims to assess the impact of factors that perpetuate the school-to-prison pipeline that are non-systemic in nature.

For the purposes of this study, the non-systemic contributors to the school-to-prison pipeline to be assessed are parental socialization, child self-control, learned noncompliance, child resilience, child problem behaviors, and child deviance. Scales for each non-systemic contributor were created and complied into a survey instrument. The study utilized an exploratory, quantitative methodology and non-experimental research using a survey approach in a cross-sectional design to assess the perceptions of non-systemic contributors of the school-to-prison pipeline among mental health professionals who service youth at risk for justice system involvement. A sample of 71 mental health professionals participated in the study. Results indicated that resilience predicted behavior problems in schools above and beyond any other non-systemic contributor. This finding produced wide-ranging implications for the manner in which children are socialized at home and disciplined at school.

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