Sacramento Mayor Johnson Hosts National Cradle to Prison Pipeline® Campaign Summit
By Crystal D. Swann
March 9, 2009
Sacramento (CA) Mayor Kevin Johnson welcomed over 500 guests to his capital city February 26 for the next installment in the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) campaign to dismantle what it calls the cradle to prison pipeline-taking place in our juvenile justice system. The event, co'sponsored by the United States Conference of Mayors, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Council of La Raza, the National Urban League and PolicyLink, showcased strategies that work to dismantle the pipeline to prison and engaged policy experts, elected officials and youth in this important dialogue. Summit participants discussed the role of race and poverty in the pipeline to prison, the importance of reweaving community relationships and surrounding children and youth with the care and services needed to succeed. CDF’s vision is that by increasing preventive supports and services children need, such as access to quality early childhood development and education services and accessible, comprehensive health and mental health coverage, the pipeline can be dismantled.
orts and services children need, such as access to quality early childhood development and education services and accessible, comprehensive health and mental health coverage, the pipeline can be dismantled.
“In America, a Black boy born in 2001 has a one-in-three chance of going to prison in his lifetime, and a Latino boy a one-in'six chance, and yet we spend nearly three times as much on every prisoner as we do per public school pupil,” said CDF President Marian Wright Edelman. “We gathered in California—which houses the largest prison system in the United States, incarcerating more than one of every nine prisoners in America—to share solutions and strategies for rerouting children on a path to healthy adulthoods and reordering our priorities to save taxpayer dollars. We must mount a concerted national effort to dismantle the prison pipeline by eliminating its root causes through implementation of the promising approaches articulated at the summit.”
The summit expertly facilitated by Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO of Oakland-based think tank PolicyLink, featured Ben Jealous, President and CEO, NAACP; Father Greg Boyle, Founder and Executive Director, Homeboy Industries; Connie Rice, Co-Director, The Advancement Project; singer/actress Jurnee Smollett, star of The Great Debaters; and many others.
In September 2007, the Children’s Defense Fund launched its Pipeline campaign on the campus of Howard University in Washington (DC). At the 2009 June Annual Meeting in Miami, the Conference of Mayors membership unanimously and without objection adopted a resolution endorsing the Children’s Defense Fund’s Cradle to Prison® Pipeline Campaign.