Discipline and punishment: How schools are building the school-to-prison pipeline

Hugh Potter, Brian Boggs, Christopher Dunbar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, we argue that the growth of punitive school discipline in US schools has created an inequitable system of school punishment that is reflective of the development of the school-to-prison pipeline and the establishment of an educational "total institution." Current school discipline practices negatively affect student academic growth in the classroom as a result of an increase in suspensions and expulsions. Data in this chapter exemplify the overreliance on punitive school discipline in one urban school to address behavioral issues and also further expand on the concept of school-to-prison pipeline using the "total institution" theory of command and control of a population proposed by Goffman (1961). We argue that there are more effective measures of school discipline and seek to provide alternate possibilities for school leaders to address the draconian treatment of Black and brown boys in today’s traditional public school environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Race and Ethnicity in Education
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameAdvances in Race and Ethnicity in Education
ISSN (Print)2051-2317
ISSN (Electronic)2051-2325


  • Discipline
  • Punishment
  • School-to-prison pipeline
  • Total institution theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Gender Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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