Longitudinal relationships among exclusionary school discipline, adolescent substance use, and adult arrest: Public health implications of the school-to-prison pipeline

By Seth J. Prins, Ruth T. Shefner, Sandhya Kajeepeta, Natalie Levy, Precious Esie, Pia M. Mauro in Decarceral public health

August 24, 2023


August 24, 2023


12:00 AM


Purpose Exclusionary school discipline is an initiating component of the school-toprison pipeline that is racialized and may lead to short- and long-term negative substance use and health outcomes. However, the individual-level shorter term substance use-related impacts of the school-to-prison pipeline, and racial disparities therein, are not well explored. Procedures We analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (1995-2009). We fit survey-weighted multivariable logistic regression models to estimate reciprocal relationships between exclusionary discipline and adolescent substance use, between these factors and subsequent exposure to the adult criminal legal system, and whether these relationships were modified by race or ethnicity. Results We found that students reporting substance use had 2.18 (95% CI 1.62, 2.92) times greater odds of reporting subsequent school discipline, and students exposed to school discipline had 1.77 (95% CI 1.42, 2.23) times greater odds of reporting subsequent substance use. Substance use and school discipline were associated with 2.68 (95% CI 2.26, 3.19) and 3.29 (95% CI 2.73, 3.95) times the odds of reporting subsequent adult criminal legal system exposure, respectively. There was little evidence of effect modification by race/ethnicity. Conclusions Overall, findings indicate that school discipline and substance use are reciprocally associated and have direct implications for adolescent health and future criminal legal system exposure.

Posted on:
August 24, 2023
1 minute read, 212 words
Decarceral public health
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