MINNEAPOLIS (Sept. 3, 2013) — Today, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek joins law enforcement leaders on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. to call for greater investments in early childhood education as a way to reduce crime.
The law enforcement leaders will voice their support for a proposed state-federal early childhood education partnership that aims to reduce the number of people who are incarcerated nationwide by 200,000 every year and lead to $75 billion in cost savings over 10 years.
More than 1,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, and prosecutors from across the nation signed a letter urging national policy makers to enact the proposal, which would provide states with resources to create, strengthen and expand quality preschool. Today in Washington D.C., Sheriff Stanek is working on this effort along with law enforcement leaders including Sheriff Leroy Baca of Los Angeles County.
“If we value the lives of children in our community, then making the investment in pre-K is critical,” said Sheriff Stanek, “Investing in early childhood education makes good economic sense as opposed to much higher expenses for time spent in the Hennepin County jail or other institutions in the future.”
The law enforcement leaders cited significant research documenting the impact of quality early education on crime reduction. “I’m the Guy You Pay Later” notes that the federal cost of the preschool element of the proposal, $75 billion over 10 years, is only one-tenth of the $75 billion that is spent every year to incarcerate adults in federal and state prisons and local jails. The report also shows that implementing the proposal could save $75 billion over the next 10 years as a result of lowered costs for incarceration, thereby paying for the proposal’s federal costs.
“I’m the guy you pay later” highlights studies of state preschool programs in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and North Carolina that achieved numerous positive and sustained outcomes, including fewer behavior problems, improved school readiness, reduced special education, fewer children held back, literacy and math achievement that continued through elementary school, and fewer high school drop-outs.
The report also notes that a Washington Institute for Public Policy analysis of over 20 preschool programs demonstrated that quality preschool returned an average “profit” (net economic benefit) to society of $15,000 for every child served, by cutting crime and the cost of incarceration and reducing other costs such as special education and welfare. That same cost-benefit analysis found that the Nurse-Family Partnership voluntary home visiting program led to a net economic benefit of more than $13,000 per child served.