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Report: Black youth in Alabama arbitrarily pushed from school into for-profit detention

Alabama has a long history of incarcerating Black children. For generations, Black youth have been overly criminalized, pushed out of school without due process, and given harsher punishments than their white counterparts. However, today youth incarceration has evolved into a lucrative business in Alabama, as for-profit youth detention facilities maximize profit margins while subjecting children to abuse and harm.

Our report, Only Young Once: Alabama’s Overreliance on School Pushout and For-Profit Youth Incarceration, details how a narrative of youth crime contributes to overly punitive school discipline, racial disparities, and an expensive youth legal system that is not designed for rehabilitation.

Only Young Once also recommends opportunities that would be more productive for Alabama’s youth and more cost-effective for taxpayers.

“A child should never be pushed out of school without due process, nor should their abuse support a profitable business model. Unfortunately, in Alabama we have both,” said Delvin Davis, SPLC senior policy analyst and author of the report. “It will take intentionality from state officials to correct policies that have harmed Alabama youth for years.”

Read the report

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Other reports

This is the third report in a series of reports about youth incarceration across the Deep South.

Illustration at top by Kingsley Nebechi