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Private Prison Company Used in Drug Raids at Public High School

By talltom, Nov 29, 2012 | Updated: Nov 29, 2012 | | |
Rating:
3/5,
  1. talltom
    In Arizona an unsettling trend appears to be underway: the use of private prison employees in law enforcement operations. The state has graced national headlines in recent years as the result of its cozy relationship with the for-profit prison industry.

    Such controversies have included the role of private prison corporations in SB 1070 and similar anti-immigrant legislation disseminated in other states; a 2010 private prison escape that resulted in two murders and a nationwide manhunt; and a failed bid to privatize nearly the entire Arizona prison system.

    And now, recent events in the central Arizona town of Casa Grande show the hand of private corrections corporations reaching into the classroom, assisting local law enforcement agencies in drug raids at public schools.



    Trick or Treat

    At 9 a.m. on the morning of October 31, 2012, students at Vista Grande High School in Casa Grande were settling in to their daily routine when something unusual occurred.

    Vista Grande High School Principal Tim Hamilton ordered the school -- with a student population of 1,776 -- on "lock down," kicking off the first "drug sweep" in the school's four-year history. According to Hamilton, "lock down" is a state in which, "everybody is locked in the room they are in, and nobody leaves -- nobody leaves the school, nobody comes into the school."

    
"Everybody is locked in, and then they bring the dogs in, and they are teamed with an administrator and go in and out of classrooms. They go to a classroom and they have the kids come out and line up against a wall. The dog goes in and they close the door behind, and then the dog does its thing, and if it gets a hit, it sits on a bag and won't move."

    While such "drug sweeps" have become a routine matter in many of the nation's schools, along with the use of metal detectors and zero-tolerance policies, one feature of this raid was unusual. According to Casa Grande Police Department (CGPD) Public Information Officer Thomas Anderson, four "law enforcement agencies" took part in the operation: CGPD (which served as the lead agency and operation coordinator), the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Gila River Indian Community Police Department, and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

    It is the involvement of CCA -- the nation's largest private, for-profit prison corporation -- that causes this high school "drug sweep" to stand out as unusual; CCA is not, despite CGPD's evident opinion to the contrary, a law enforcement agency.

    "To invite for-profit prison guards to conduct law enforcement actions in a high school is perhaps the most direct expression of the 'schools-to-prison pipeline' I've ever seen," said Caroline Isaacs, program director of the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker social justice organization that advocates for criminal justice reform.

    "All the research shows that CCA doesn't properly train its staff to do the jobs they actually have. They most certainly do not have anywhere near the training and experience--to say nothing of the legal authority--to conduct a drug raid on a high school," Isaacs added. "It is chilling to think that any school official would be willing to put vulnerable students at risk this way."

    Welcome to Prison Town, U.S.A.

    CCA, the nation's largest for-profit prison/immigrant detention center operator, with more than 92,000 prison and immigrant detention "beds" in 20 states and the District of Columbia, reported $1.7 billion in gross revenue last year. This revenue is derived almost exclusively from tax payer-funded government (county, state, federal) contracts through which the corporation is paid per-diem, per-prisoner rates for the warehousing of prisoners and immigrant detainees.

    And, CCA has a substantial presence in Casa Grande and throughout Arizona's Pinal County (Casa Grande is the largest town in Pinal County). The corporation owns and operates a total of six correctional/detention facilities in the county, distributed through the towns of Florence and Eloy.

    These facilities hold a mixture of prisoners from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Hawaii Department of Public Safety Division of Corrections, TransCor (a detainee/prisoner transportation subsidiary of CCA), the Pascua Yaqi Tribe, the U.S. Air Force, the Vermont Department of Corrections, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. In September of this year, CCA was awarded a contract with the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) to house 1,000 medium security prisoners at the corporation's Red Rock Correctional Center in Eloy.

    In 2009, the Central Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation listed CCA as the largest non-governmental employer in Pinal County. To boot, CCA is a "Board Level" member of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a powerful trade/lobby organization, and is active in the Eloy, Florence, and Casa Grande chambers of commerce.

    This CCA presence, coupled with the location of two correctional facilities operated by GEO Group (the nation's second largest for-profit prison/immigrant detention center contractor) in the county, as well as two ADC-run prison complexes, makes Pinal County -- which once cited mining and agriculture as its economic bedrock -- a de facto prison industry community.

    Despite the obvious differences between CCA and actual law enforcement agencies, those involved in the Vista Grande High School drug sweep seem unable to differentiate between CCA employees and law enforcement officers.

    
"CCA is like a skip and a hop away from us-- as far as the one in Florence," said Anderson. "We work pretty closely with all surrounding agencies, whatever kind of law enforcement they are-- be they police, or immigration and naturalization, or the prison systems. So, yeah, this seems pretty regular to me."

    

For his part, Hamilton seems equally unable to differentiate between law enforcement officers and employees of a for-profit prison corporation.

"To be honest with you, I couldn't tell if they were Casa Grande Police, Pinal County police, Gila River, the sheriff's department-- they all look the same," said Hamilton.
    But they are not the same.

    Questions of Legality

    CCA did not respond to multiple requests for comment regarding their involvement in law enforcement operations at public schools in Pinal County.

    Conflict of Interest: From the Cradle to the Cell

    According to Anderson, three students were arrested as a result of the October 31 Vista Grande raid: two female students, ages 15 and 17, as well as one 15-year-old male. According to Anderson, the 15-year-old female was found in possession of .10 grams of marijuana; the 15-year-old male student was found in possession of .50 grams of marijuana; and the 17-year-old female was found in possession of 10 ounces of marijuana. According to Anderson, this last quantity was "individually packaged." 



    According to Anderson, the students were referred to the juvenile division of Pinal County Superior Court. All students were then released to their parents/legal guardians. 

According to Hamilton, the school will commence expulsion hearings against all students arrested.

    It is worth noting that, while (as of November 12, 2012) charges have yet to be filed against students arrested in the October 31 Vista Grande drug raid, it is possible, under Arizona law, for the 17-year-old female allegedly found to be in possession of 10 ounces of "individually packaged" marijuana to be sentenced as an adult if charged with possession with intent to distribute -- a felony which would could carry a prison sentence.

    In addition, it is important to note that, under Arizona law, individuals arrested for illicit activity/possession of illicit substances on or near school grounds may face "drug-free school zone" sentencing enhancements. Those convicted of drug (including marijuana) offenses in Arizona courts, and sentenced through the stringent criteria of "drug-free school zone" sentencing enhancements, lose the possibility of sentence suspension, parole, or probation (which would rule out the possibility of a deferral or diversion). This sentencing enhancement also adds a mandatory year to any prison sentence handed down by the court.

    While the recently-awarded 1,000 CCA Arizona prison beds have yet to come into operation, it is exactly this kind of low risk, minimum to medium security prisoner that corporations such as CCA derive much of their profit from.

    Furthermore, according to Anderson, the Vista Grande High School marijuana arrests have sparked a broader, ongoing investigation.

    Given the fact that such high school raids may serve as the foundation for larger narcotics investigations which may net additional adult offenders -- and given the tremendous pressure for information a prosecutor may exert on a student through discretionary use of "drug-free school zone" sentencing enhancements -- concerned citizens say that CCA's involvement in such raids constitutes a clear conflict of interest.

    "They're [CCA] not the criminal justice system. They are benefactors of the criminal justice system," said correctional specialist and prison reform advocate, Carl Toersbijns.

    Toersbijns, now retired (he retired in 2010), served as a deputy warden of operations at ADC-operated Arizona State Prison (ASP) Eyeman, as a deputy warden of operations at ASP Safford, as a deputy warden of operations at New Mexico Department of Corrections-operated Western New Mexico Correctional Facility (Grants, New Mexico), and as an associate warden at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility (at Los Lunas, New Mexico). Collectively, Toersbijns' career in corrections has spanned over 25 years in both Arizona and New Mexico. Such work, said Toersbijns, has entailed everything from details with prison canine units, to prison gang units.

    "They [CCA] use the criminal justice system as a means of making income -- for profit," added Toersbijns. "So, their interest in the criminal justice system is totally opposite of the police officer. The police officer is public safety. The primary interest for CCA and associated entities is profit. So, there most definitely is a conflict of interest."

    Profit-Driven Roadmap to the Present: "Tough-on-Crime" Mania and the Introduction of the "War on Drugs" to the Classroom.

    As some opponents of prison privatization attest, CCA embodies the worst pitfalls of public-private partnerships, in that the corporation has worked in the past to advance criminal justice legislation that has contributed to both a swell in U.S. prison/detention center populations and, consequently, CCA's bottom line.

    For example, CCA was active (both as a co-chair and member) in the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) Public Safety and Elections Task Force (formerly the ALEC Criminal Justice Task Force) through the 1990s, to the end of 2010.

    ALEC bills itself as "the nation’s largest, non-partisan, individual public-private membership association of state legislators," working toward the advancement of the "Jeffersonian ideals" of limited federal government. In reality, ALEC is almost entirely funded by corporations and sources other than legislative dues, and it is overwhelmingly comprised of Republican state lawmakers and an untold number of large corporations and influential law/lobby firms (although at least 41 companies have announced they have stopped funding ALEC in the wake of public exposure of its activities). ALEC's primary objective is to adopt and disseminate "model legislation," much of which is drafted entirely by its private sector members. ALEC boasts that nearly 20 percent of this "model legislation" introduced in state legislatures nationwide is passed into law annually.

    In the wake of reporting outlining CCA's involvement with ALEC and the spread of immigration law based on SB 1070, CCA told the Arizona Republic, in September 2011, that the corporation left ALEC at an undisclosed time in 2010.

    Records obtained by DBA Press show the direct sponsorship of both CCA and of Management and Training Corporation ("MTC," currently the nation's third largest for-profit prison/immigrant detention center operator) of the August 2010 ALEC Annual Meeting, as well as the likely involvement of lobbyists employed by both CCA, MTC and GEO Group in the December, 2010 ALEC "States and Nation Policy Summit".

    Arizona lobby reports also show clear GEO Group involvement with ALEC during the December, 2009 ALEC States and Nation Policy Summit -- the meeting at which then-Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce introduced legislation (that would later be introduced in the Arizona legislature as SB 1070) for adoption as a piece of ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force "model legislation." Subsequently, copycat legislation similar to this ALEC model bill -- the "No More Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Act" -- began appearing in state legislatures throughout the nation.

    Furthermore, the ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force was instrumental, during the years of CCA's membership and leadership, in proliferating such 'tough-on-crime' legislation as: "three strikes," "truth in sentencing" and "mandatory minimum" sentencing guidelines.

    And ALEC also advanced the model "Private Correctional Facilities Act," which allowed private corporations to operate state prisons.

    These guidelines and pieces of "model legislation" (including the "Private Correctional Facilities Act") were advanced by ALEC in partnership with CrimeStrike, a division of the National Rifle Association ("NRA," a longtime ALEC private sector member), throughout the first half of the 1990s. Critics of this effort saw CrimeStrike largely as a response to the Clinton administration's desire to strengthen firearms violence prevention laws. As such, the CrimeStrike campaign spawned the saying, "guns don't kill people, people kill people"-- and posited that the solution to crime would be found through the use of greater criminal penalties. This strategy took advantage of, and perpetuated, the "tough-on-crime" sentiments of the day.

    Largely as a result of model laws/sentencing guidelines advanced by the ALEC/NRA CrimeStrike partnership, the United States experienced a boom in the number of incarcerated individuals (in state and federal prisons, as well as in jails)-- from just over 1.1 million incarcerated in 1990, to nearly 2.3 million in 2010.

    During the years of CCA's Criminal Justice/Public Safety and Elections Task Force involvement, ALEC also advanced and advocated "model legislation" that not only resulted in greater drug law enforcement presence on public school campuses, but that also mandated tough sentencing enhancements for drug offenses committed in "drug-free school zones."

    The ALEC "Drug-Free Schools Act" called for the use of federal funds provided through the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1986 for "enhanced apprehension, prevention and education efforts" in joint cooperation between law enforcement agencies and local school districts.

    Multiple ALEC publications (including the ALEC "Sourcebook for American State Legislation 1993-94," which lists CCA among the organization's private sector members and advisors), along with the ALEC "Use of a Minor in Drug Operations Act" reference the "model Drug-Free School Zone Act," although it is unclear whether this "model" bill originated with ALEC.

    It is clear, however, that the model "Drug-Free School Zone Act," which establishes "drug-free school zones" and carries sentencing enhancements similar to the enhancements codified in Arizona law, was promoted by a broad coalition of public interests groups during the 'tough-on-crime' fervor of the early-to-mid 1990s. The model bill enjoyed such support that the 1992 National Office of Drug Control Policy (NODCP) established federal assistance in establishing "drug-free school zones," as well as mandatory sentencing enhancements nationwide.

    Interestingly enough, this NODCP initiative, which was set forth in a report discussing the agency’s "national priorities" for 1992, advocated state adoption of several other known pieces of ALEC model legislation, such as the "Use of a Minor in a Drug Operations Act," as well as other ALEC "models" calling for the suspension or revocation of occupational licenses for professionals convicted of drug crimes, the eviction of drug offenders from public housing, and the use of "mandatory minimum" sentencing guidelines.

    Not surprisingly, ALEC, along with several other public policy groups, was credited by the NODCP as having been "especially helpful in the formulation of this strategy."

    In April of 2012, following widespread criticism and loss of corporate sponsorship due to such pieces of "model legislation" disseminated by the Public Safety and Elections Task Force as the "Stand Your Ground Act," the "Voter ID Act" and the "No More Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Act," ALEC announced that it would disband the task force (an announcement that PRWatch has critiqued as a "PR" maneuver).

    Unfortunately, as the October 31 Vista Grande High School drug raid illustrates, the purported discontinuation of this task force comes only after the damage of two decades of private prison industry influence in the legislative process has taken its toll.

    Is Any of this Right?

    Vast differences between law enforcement agencies and private, for-profit corrections corporations aside, former ADC deputy warden and corrections specialist Carl Toersbijns said he sees a greater underlying problem in the practice of using any prison -- public or private -- personnel in school drug raids.

    The simple fact is this: correctional officers -- people who work on a continual basis around adult criminal offenders-- have a much different mentality than a teacher, principal, or police officer. This mentality, he believes, may not be the most suitable mentality to subject school children to.

    "Children are different -- they don't act like adults, and I don't think you ought to use corrections officers around children," said Toersbijns. "It's a different culture, it's a different setting, it's a different approach. It's inappropriate." 

For example, the term "lockdown," said Toersbijns, may mean an entirely different thing to a corrections officer than it means to school personnel, students, or police.



    "They use that terminology, 'lock down,' in the police department too. When they've got something going on in the neighborhood -- a robbery suspect in the neighborhood -- they lock the schools down [. . .] If you have a group there, that you've called in to do a job, and some of them are correctional officers, and they hear the words 'lock down,' it has a different meaning -- it has a total different meaning [. . .] You don't tell a correctional officer 'this school's on lock down,' because the mentality is: 'oh, I can go anywhere I want and tear up anything I want and grab anything that I want. That's the mentality we use in prison. Prisoners don't have rights -- you and I both know that -- when it comes to search and seizure, they don't have no rights. Children have rights."

    Alternet
    November 28, 2012

    Thanks to Alex Friedmann, associate editor of Prison Legal News (www.prisonlegalnews.org) for his contribution to this article. CMD staffers Rebekah Wilce and Alex Oberley also contributed to this article.

    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/private-prison-company-used-drug-raids-public-high-school

Comments

  1. talltom
    Private Prison Companies Participate In Full-Body Pat-Downs in America's Schools: How the War on Drugs Is a War on (Very Young) Children

    On a warm spring afternoon at American colleges, the intoxicating aroma of surely medicinal marijuana will be floating like a soft caress in the breeze, and hard-working students will be stocking up on amphetamine cocktails to sharpen their overstressed young minds for the coming exams.

    On a warm spring afternoon at the nation’s poorer public schools, children (and I mean children) will endure a daily police presence, including drug-sniffing dogs, full-body pat-downs, searches of backpacks and lockers, stops in the hallways—all in the name of searching for contraband.

    Drugs are ubiquitous in this country, and yet we know that some people have the privilege of doctor-prescribed intoxication, while others are thrown into dungeons for seeking the same relief. We know that the war on drugs is heavily inflected with Jim Crow–ism, economic inequality, gun culture myths and political opportunism. We know that Adam Lanza’s unfortunate mother was not the sole Newtown resident stocking up on military-style weapons; plenty of suburban gun owners keep similar weapons to protect their well-kept homes against darkly imagined, drug-addled marauders from places like Bridgeport. We divert resources from mental health or rehab, and allocate millions to militarize schools.

    The result: the war on drugs has metastasized into a war on children.

    Best publicized, perhaps, is the plight of young people in Meridian, Mississippi, where a federal investigation is probing into why children as young as 10 are routinely taken to jail for wearing the wrong color socks or flatulence in class. Bob Herbert wrote of a situation in Florida in 2007, where police found themselves faced with the great challenge of placing a 6-year-old girl in handcuffs too big for her wrists. The child was being arrested for throwing a tantrum in her kindergarten class; the solution was to cuff her biceps, after which she was dragged to the precinct house for mug shots and charged with a felony and two misdemeanors.

    In New York City, kids who make trouble are routinely removed from school altogether and placed in suspension centers, holding cells or juvenile detention lockups. In the old days, you got a detention slip for scrawling your initials on a desk. Now a student can be given a summons by a school police officer. If the kid loses it or doesn’t want to tell his parents, it becomes a warrant—and a basis for arrest.

    According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, some 
77 percent of New York’s school police interventions are for noncriminal matters like having food outside the cafeteria, having a cellphone or being late. Other minor offenses like shouting, getting into petty scuffles or being on school grounds after hours fall into the category of “disruptive behavior”—an offense that can get a student suspended. Just 4 percent of police interventions are in response to “major crimes against persons.”

    But what’s a teacher to do? In New York City, police officers outnumber guidance counselors by more than 2,000.

    Yet as Newtown should teach us, we love our guns as much as we love our drugs. We know that even our best efforts at gun control will not undo a simultaneous and enthusiastic installation of armed overseers in our public schools. As such forces grow exponentially across the country, we keep them busy by installing zero-tolerance policies that take disciplinary discretion out of teachers’ hands and put it in the hands of law enforcement officers with little to no training in child psychology, mediation or anger management. Indeed, the NYCLU recently filed a complaint after the NYPD arrested Mark Federman, the principal of East Side Community High School, for intervening as the in-school officers hauled away an honor student.

    This “school-to-prison pipeline” has emerged suddenly. Over just the last two decades, we got scared. We sent guns and billy clubs into our schools on purpose. We provided federal funds for massive surveillance systems—for cameras like they have in Oakland, monitoring every inch of school life from a command center. We slashed budgets for books, salaries, computers, psychologists, librarians and buildings. We dealt with classroom overcrowding
by segregating those with learning difficulties, shunting them into tracks where they have no chance.

    On top of that, we instituted blunt metrics by which teachers lose pay or even their jobs depending on student outcomes. If scores aren’t good—regardless of how difficult the students’ life circumstances or language challenges or learning disabilities—
it is teachers who are held responsible. With so much at stake, calling the school police is one way to remove lower-performing students from the classroom on high-stakes testing days.

    And with the police being given incentives for making a large number of arrests, why wouldn’t the rational officer bring charges of “disturbance of education” or disorderly conduct for catfights in the hallways, when he might beef up his salary with the easy frog-march of juvenile perps to the precinct?

    The most vulnerable targets may be children of color, but this war on kids is a war on all children. Ultimately, the lack of due-process protections and human dignity in ghetto schools leaches into suburban schools. It doesn’t really matter whether one side views it as protecting against the dark side with zero-tolerance strip searches for ibuprofen, while the other side experiences it as an annexing of the prison-industrial complex onto daily life. Criminalizing children will have constitutional implications for generations to come. It is corrosive and rends the fabric of our erstwhile civil society, makes a lie of equal opportunity, and rewards authoritarian personality disorder at the expense of our humanity.

    The Nation
    February 18, 2013

    http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-po...s-americas-schools-how-war-drugs-war-children
  2. chopmow
    This is fucking distgusting....

    just a slight conflict of interest.
  3. runnerupbeautyqueen
    I thought drug sweeps were commonplace in American high schools? We had them regularly (this is also in AZ) when I was in high school which was 5-7 years ago. We would go into "lock down" mode and either be locked in class for like 2 hours or we would have to go sit on the bleachers in the football field while cops/security guards/ I actually don't know who was supposed to be doing "the sweep" would take the drug dogs and walk them up and down the halls where our lockers were and if we were out on the football field we were supposed to leave our backpacks in class and the dogs would sniff them.

    But in AZ our schools are terrible (49th or 50th in the country) and we only had a class set of each books which means we never had to take any books home. So we basically never used our lockers anyway. I never did, the whole 3 years I was there and neither did any of my friends. So I don't know why they found it important to search lockers. 4/5 were probably completely empty. And, since we were never there when the dogs were, all we did was keep our weed or whatever in our purses/pockets. Now that I think about it who knows if they were even really doing "drug sweeps?" I never saw it happen, never saw any dogs. I never knew anyone who got caught in one of these sweeps, just second or third hand "I have a friend who has a friend who got caught" type rumors. The "friend of a friend" was always supposedly a freshman, which does make sense because the rest of the school knew to expect these sweeps to happen maybe once a month or so.

    Arizona's schools are ridiculous. A huge waste of time and money if you ask me.
  4. Baba Blacksheep
    This kind of standard sets the scene for a future revolution.
  5. talltom
    Cops Go Undercover at High School to Bust Special-Needs Kid for Pot: Why Are Police So Desperate to Throw Kids in Jail?

    In a video segment on ABC News, they say they were "thrilled" when their son -- who has Asperger's and other disabilities and struggled to make friends -- appeared to have instantly made a friend named Daniel.

    “He suddenly had this friend who was texting him around the clock,” Doug Snodgrass told ABC News. His son had just recently enrolled at Chaparral High School.

    "Daniel," however, was an undercover cop with the Riverside County, CA, Sheriff's Department who "hounded" the teenager to sell him his prescription medication. When he refused, the undercover cop gave him $20 to buy him weed, and he complied -- not realizing the guy he wanted to befriend wanted him behind bars.

    In December, the unnamed senior was arrested along with 21 other students from three schools, all charged with crimes related to the two officers' undercover drug operation at two public schools in Temecula, California (Chaparral and Temecula Valley High School). This March, Judge Marian H. Tully ruled that Temecula Valley Unified School District could not expel the student, and had in fact failed to provide him with proper services.

    “Within three days of the officer’s requests, [the] student burned himself due to his anxiety,” Tully said. “Ultimately, the student was persuaded to buy marijuana for someone he thought was a friend who desperately needed this drug and brought it to school for him.”

    In January, a juvenile court judge decided that extenuating circumstances applied to the student's case, and ruled that he serve informal probation and 20 hours of community service, which would translate into “no finding of guilt.”

    Since being allowed back to school, Snodgrass says his son has been "bullied" via suspensions and threat of expulsion. “Our son was cleared of the criminal charge, but the school continued to try and expel him,” Snodgrass said.

    The Snodgrasses are now suing the school for unspecified damages. District administrators, they told ABC, should have protected their son, but instead “participated with local authorities in an undercover drug sting that intentionally targeted and discriminated against [him]."

    “Sending police and informants to entrap high-school students is sick,” says Tony Newman, director of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance. “We see cops seducing 18-year-olds to fall in love with them or befriending lonely kids and then tricking them into getting them small amounts of marijuana so they can stick them with felonies. We often hear that we need to fight the drug war to protect the kids. As these despicable examples show, more often the drug war is ruining young people's lives and doing way more harm than good.”

    Stephen Downing, a retired Deputy Chief of Police in the LAPD, said the behavior of the police in this case points to troubling trends in policy. "It is evidence of just how far we have gone, and how callous we have become, in treating our children with the care and dignity they should be entitled.”

    “The fact that the police officer chose to prey upon the most vulnerable" is “egregious” but not surprising, he said. He pointed toward policing tactics and policies -- like quotas, the increasing criminalization of America's schools, and the war on drugs -- that put pressure on police to treat normal teen behavior as criminal.

    Downing, who is a member of the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, also pointed out, “The less fortunate are always targeted."

    “Do we ever hear of an undercover operation like this conducted in an exclusive private school, or on a university campus, or on the stages of a movie studio in Hollywood? No, we don't. Why? Because those people would complain, get lawyers and make life miserable for the status quo."

    "The parents of this child are right to bring a lawsuit, to take that needed step that will, hopefully, bring about the kind of change that will stop this kind of tyrannical corruption and harm to our children," he said.

    Drug crimes are not the only charges unfairly leveled against students. Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot [7], a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small explosion during a science experiment.

    Kristen Gwynne
    AlterNet
    May 22, 2013

    http://www.alternet.org/cops-go-und...id-pot-why-are-police-so-desperate-throw-kids
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