The Success of The War On Drugs on Education

The Success of The War On Drugs  on Education

Part 2 of Prison Reform Benefits Education Reform


Was the war on drugs successful? At one time, many believed that blacks were criminals, and I started to fear my own people. The power of the media in creating illusions should never be dismissed.

The war on drugs (WOD) neither reduced drug overdoses nor drug ingestion. WOD harmed innocent children and their families by depriving children of education and placing them in toxic environments (prisons) where they were physically abused and sexually molested (by the United States government).

Over sustained periods, violent environments lacking support produce toxic stress. Toxic stress is a well-established risk factor for both physical and mental illnesses; stress is a major factor underlying the pathology of chronic medical conditions.

Toxic stress compounds pre-existing risk factors in children, as much as four to six times over children with similar risk factors who are exposed to stress, but have supportive adult networks and are not exposed to prison.

Table 1 List of High Risk Behaviors

Risky behaviors include and are not limited to:

1.  Increased risk of drug and alcohol abuse;

2.  Increased risk of suicide;

3.  Increased risk of violence;

4.  Increased risk of sexual infections, pregnancy and molestation;

5.  Increased risk of homelessness;

6.  Increased risk of poverty;

7.  Increased risk of Mental Illness; and

8.  Increased risk of re-incarceration.

Again, I repeat: public schools are the main pipelines to prisons. School-to-prison pipelines are massive problems in communities of color. Zero tolerance, racial profiling, and school-to-prison policies relegate school discipline to prisons. Children who act out are considered difficult to teach, consuming scarce and valued time. What else can overworked teachers and educators working in understaffed schools do with children considered as “trouble-makers?”

Public schools and private prisons expose inner-city children with risk factors to distasteful mixtures of human depravity, bondage, and isolation, as well as unnecessary cruelty, violence, torture, sexual molestation, humiliation, physical abuse, and death. In the United States of America, children with behavioral issues are treated in prisons regardless of their age, diagnosis of mental illness, and lack of appropriate comprehensive evaluation. How effective has that been?

A study of 35,000 former Chicago public school students (4), completed by Anna Aizer of Brown University and Joseph Doyle Jr. of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, showed:

Unsurprisingly, going to jail as a kid has “strong negative effects” on a child’s chance to get an education. Youth that went to prison were 39 percentage points less likely to finish high school than other kids who were from the same neighborhood. Even young offenders who weren’t imprisoned were better off; they were thirteen percent more likely to finish high school than their incarcerated peers.


More surprisingly, given that prison is supposed to deter crime, going to jail also made kids more likely to offend again. Young offenders who were incarcerated were a staggering 67 percent more likely to be in jail (again) by the age of 25 than similar young offenders who didn’t go to prison. Moreover, a similar pattern held true for serious crimes. Aizer and Doyle found that incarcerated youths were more likely to commit “homicide, violent crime, property crime and drug crimes” than those that didn’t serve time.

These findings are particularly troubling given that kids are often sent to the criminal justice system for relatively minor offenses.

The prefrontal cortex of a child does not fully develop until around 25-30 years old. Incarcerating children for mistakes – such as drug possession or bullying – teaches the wrong lessons, stunts personal growth, and exponentially increases baseline risk factors for children. Prisons create more risk factors and ensure children fail by limiting their paths to one of darkness, without opportunities for light, often ever again.

Children cannot communicate their feelings as well as adults, so they do what children do best: act out.

Public schools, soon to be charter schools, are similar to private prisons, cataloguing children by name, rank, and future potential inmate ID. Public school pipelines to prison are well-funded, lucrative, and powerful alliances that exploit children, families, and communities by turning the lights off on brighter futures while damning innocent children to lives of deep psychological pain.

Are teachers and educators listening to their customers? What are children telling teachers and educators? Few teachers take time to listen or inquire, and we have few indicators to measure student satisfaction with education.

Are teachers better educators with children in prisons instead of classrooms? How can teachers and educators create positive school climates?

How much does the average inner city class size shrink due to imprisonment of students by the end of the year? What is the impact of these policies on other students?

A system of care approach that applies Big Data is a scalable and fully customizable model for making education relevant and appropriate, leading to healthy, productive children.

Our culturally diverse country makes one-sized education to fit all communities unpalatable and irrelevant for many cultures. A system of care approach empowers communities to set priorities around needs of children and their families while employing resources within the community.

A system of care approach is one of many collaborative approaches to education and metrics that empower communities through community participation and engagement.

Armed with Big Data, education and law enforcement will be more responsive to communities, which will be more informed… I hope.



  1.  What Is IDEA?

  1.  What is a System of Care?

  1.  United States Citizens Justice Database 

Justice in America Database | Updated Nov 4

  1.  STUDY: Throwing Kids In Jail Makes Crime Worse, Ruins Lives

  1. Prison Reform Benefits Education Reform  Part 1


Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

9 thoughts on “The Success of The War On Drugs on Education

  1. Less than a minute ago
    Claude Boulet
    Claude Boulet I’d personally like to thank Mr. Barack Obama for the release of the low risk offenders from prison. My goodness, its darn awful why some are in there learning to actually become one. Is there such thing as a 3 strike rule?
    Less than a minute ago

    1. It is good news and a start. As good as it sounds it foes not address the fabricated arrests nor does it seek justice for those murdered and harmed by the police department crimes against humanity and genocide of minorities and those mentally and developmentally delayed.

      Those officers need to be kicked off the force. Lack of training is no fucking excuse.

  2. I know your excellent post specifically addressed kids, but simply getting arrested, for a minor offense, even without a conviction, puts anyone at risk. There are 200 mugshot websites that will ensure your mug shows in a Google search query on the first page, forget about that job, apartment rental, etc. It is now impossible to expunge your record, even when the charges were dropped, even when the county takes down the mugshot, it will still show in Google. If you’ve ever been arrested, the cops will target you as an easy arrest, you been there before. To show you an extreme example watch this CNN report on youtube: The sad fact is that Prisons are now run for profit by private corporations, the State now has a contractual obligation to keep those Prisons filled, no wonder it is a growth industry.
    Another thing no one ever considers is that the system is stacked against you, would anyone want to spend $5000 for a Lawyer to dodge a $200 fine? The $4800 difference is enough to make most people just pay the fine.

    As a final thought: consider the State’s resources, unlimited funds vs. your bank account. Most of us don’t stand a chance.
    Keep up the good work, thanks!

    1. hank you for the support. You brought up excellent points….the mere act of arrest does harm by pushing communities of color into the shadows.

      Speaking of hindering your chances to find an apartment rental:

      Recently, I had a painful experience in Boston while looking for apartments at Equity Residential where nuanced racism and discrimination was modelled.

      I went to their Boston Office close to Longfellow Place where I was completely ignored. No one looked at me while I attempted to engage a real estate agent, but none returned my eye contact. I asked questions, and no one budged from their seats or conversations with each other. They looked at my complexion and decided I did not belong on that side of Boston. This is Equity Residential, a large company.

      The first time I overlooked the rudeness, the second time it became obvious this was racism. Both times there were NO customers in the office (I was there for about 20-30 minutes each time) except me. In addition, there were 2-4 real estate agents sitting around chatting to each other drinking coffee and eating. None made an attempt to be courteous or show interest in my business. I was not valued at Equity Residential.

      I would not recommend Equity Residential to people of color.

      So an arrest without charges are shackles to keep black people in concentrated poverty to be contained, bullied and murdered by white privileged officers of the law.

      Thank you for sharing the video , which I posted.

      1. The only color that a real e$tate company $hould care about i$ a certain $hade of green, I wouldn’t recommend this outfit to anyone, regardless of background. I hope you won’t have to go through such an experience again.

        1. Hi Onnovocks,

          These were not pleasant experiences…. they gave me flashbacks. I stopped looking for apartments in Boston….I do not have good memories of Boston/ MA

          The issues you brought up are not addressed…people ignore these important facts that keep those targeted and labeled in a cycle of poverty that now includes prison.

          Now we know Police Departments have mandates to arrest young black males between ages of 15-30 for money, stats and to maintain the stereotypical label that black people are violent.

          Machiavellian Culture

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