There has been considerable recent scholarly commentary about the existence of a school-to-prison pipeline. In this research, several authors have questioned whether the presence of school resource officers (SROs) has increased the proportion of students being referred to juvenile justice systems for status or minor offenses. Research to date, however, has not established a clear relationship between the presence of SROs and these referrals. In this study, we examine the relationship between referrals made in urban and rural schools to determine whether rural students are disadvantaged by net widening when compared with their urban counterparts. To carry out this study of justice by geography, the referrals of 57,005 urban and rural students into the juvenile justice system of a southeastern state over a three-year period were analyzed. The findings presented here suggest that there are important rural/urban differences in the impact of the Department of Human Services and schools in the expansion of the school-to-prison pipeline. Implications for policy and future research are also discussed.
May, David, Raymond Barranco, Rick Ruddell, and Angela Robertson. 2016. "Do Rural School Resource Officers Contribute to Net-Widening? Evidence from a Southern State." Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 31(2): Article 5. Available at: https://egrove.olemiss.edu/jrss/vol31/iss2/5