Making Democracy Work

Criminal/Juvenile Justice

League Positions

LWVSC positions on criminal and juvenile justice issues can be found here.


South Carolina court orders Department of Corrections to remediate its treatment of inmates with mental illness after years of abuse. The State will appeal the decision. SC appeals inmate case, tries mental health fixes, The State, January 18, 2014.

When Good People Do Nothing: The Appalling Story of South Carolina's Prisons, The Atlantic, January 10, 2014

Mental Health for Inmates

School-to-Prison Pipeline

The massacre of children by their classmates on schoolyards across the country in recent decades was a powerful impetus in the widespread adoption of "zero tolerance" disciplinary policies.

Anxious administrators and parents wanted to keep children safe in the classroom. They responded to the surge in juvenile crime in the 1980's and 1990's by incorporating police, or School Resource Officers (SRO's) into the school setting. According to the New York Times, police patrolled just 1% of schools in the mid-1970's. By 2008, 40% of schools employed SRO's.

A growing body of research is demonstrating that zero tolerance policies have cast a much wider net than originally intended, trapping a disproportionate percentage of minority children in the criminal justice system for what in the past were youthful indiscretions handled in the principal's office. This has become known as the "School-to-Prison Pipeline."

The League of Women Voters of South Carolina (LWVSC) opposes zero tolerance policies in schools, and supports alternatives to the increasing criminalization of the actions of young adults.

Dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Children's Defense Fund
Cradle to Prison Pipeline Factsheet (South Carolina)

New York Times
"With Police in Schools, More Children in Court" by Erik Eckholm

National Conference of State Legislatures
Kids Are Not Adults: April 2013 State Legislatures Magazine "Brain research is providing new insights into what drives teenage behavior, moving lawmakers to rethink policies that treat them like adults" by Sarah Alice Brown

Annie E. Casey Foundation
"Reducing Youth Incarceration in the United States"

Alliance for Excellent Education
South Carolina Fact Sheet

Alliance for Excellent Education
Issue Brief: Saving Futures, Saving Dollars: The Impact of Education on Crime Reduction and Earnings

Sentencing Reform