About The Workbook


This workbook/curriculum aims to transform the entire country’s approach to Juvenile Justice by helping to divert high risk youth from the Juvenile Justice system long before their first offense is ever made, whereas 83% of diversion programs in Michigan limit eligibility to youth who have already committed a first offense and are already in the system. This workbook is highly recommended for middle schools serving at-risk youth to be made as part of the requirement for promotion from 8th grade to high school, thereby setting youth on a path to success throughout high school and beyond!

The Five Steps…

  1. Become more involved in your own education
  2. Don’t let your environment determine your future
  3. Avoid negative peer pressure
  4. Discover your purpose in life
  5. You must create a plan for yourself

Workbook for Youth – Five Steps to Avoid the School to Prison Pipeline

This workbook is geared towards youth ages 12-17 and their parents who read through real life stories and questions contained in the 5 Steps Workbook together (with a facilitator). The workbook uses real life stories to help youth and their parents conceptualize the “school to prison pipeline” and helps to open critical conversations that must be had in order to move youth from school to career rather than prison. The workbook is a story of one family‚Äôs journey through the 5 Steps as they try to avoid the traps which await them in an invisible pipeline, accompanied by thought provoking questions and activities at every turn. The characters are 15 year old Jaleesa, 16 year old Robert, their Mom Latonia and their Dad Robert Sr. All scenes in the workbook are based on real events.

Restorative conversations using the 5 Steps Workbook provides a series of preventive activities where students use real life stories to understand issues from different perspectives and not just their own. In the final step (Step 5) of the workbook there is a blank career plan that can be used to help youth to create a realistic and actionable plan for themselves.

Use of the 1st Edition of this workbook is recommended more for churches since it discusses the Bible in Step 4. The 2nd Edition of the workbook is recommended for use in schools, which replaces discussions of the Bible in Step 4 with discussions on the benefits of meditation in schools as a positive behavior intervention. The 2nd Edition was developed per request of schools who saw great benefits in the use of the workbook, but were concerned about seperation of church and state laws.

This workbook is a story of one family’s journey to avoid the traps which await them in an invisible pipeline, and offers many very insightful and thought provoking questions to it’s readers.

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4 thoughts on “About The Workbook

  1. There is yet another threat of school closings in Detroit. State governments are systematically dismantling public schools in at-risk/low income/low performing school districts….All while building jails and privatizing prisons at an alarming rate. This isn’t just happening in Michigan. We need to pay attention to what’s going on. I have been using the workbook “Five Steps to Avoid the School to Prison Pipeline” to help open conversations with youth around the school to prison pipeline traps so that they can better recognize them and take these traps more seriously. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this subject and/or the workbook.

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  2. Toledo Public Schools actively participates in the School to Prison Pipeline through Practices, Policies, and Procedures. Individuals, just doing their jobs, have been identified, and have admitted to causing harm to many, generationally, through suspension.

    Suspension from school arrests ones intellectual development, and denies ones RIGHT to be educated. Discipline should defer privileges, not a person right. Criminalization of behavior, via the 13th Amendment, starts in Kindergarten. I can send my research of this microcosm that represents education practices at large.

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  3. I believe that many schools serving minority students participate in the school to prison pipeline. In many cases teachers have no other option but to recommend suspension for bad behavior because the school is not held accountable for enforcing consequences that are alternatives for suspension. Nothing will change, if we don’t change the way in which we handle behavior issues in schools. Instead of transferring the behavior outside of the school environment, schools need to focus on finding the problem of the bad behavior and work to make it better one child at a time.

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