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Law Enforcement Leaders Applaud New Research Showing High-Quality Early Care and Education Can Reduce Crime

Release of new report strengthens crime prevention argument for early childhood education




Ted Eismeier,

Desk: 202-464-5350, Cell: 315-335-9222

Washington, DC (June 9) — Law enforcement leaders are citing new research published in the prestigious journal Science today showing that high-quality early care and education programs can help reduce felony arrests, incarceration rates and substance abuse among adults who as children attended high-quality pre-school programs compared to adults who did not have access to these programs.

Released by the University of Minnesota, the research follows the educational and social development of more than 1,400 low-income, minority children from high-poverty Chicago neighborhoods.  Among children involved in the study, 957 attended high-quality pre-school programs at Chicago’s Child-Parent Centers while the remaining did not.

The research published in the journal Science is the longest follow-up ever of an established large-scale early childhood program.

For law enforcement leaders nationwide, the research offers important new evidence that high-quality early care and education programs can help reduce future crime and save taxpayers millions of dollars, said Miriam Rollin, national director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a crime-prevention group composed of police chiefs, prosecutors, sheriffs and survivors of violent crime.

Right now states are spending 10 times as much on corrections costs as they are on pre-k programs. The potential for high-quality early care and education programs to create real savings for taxpayers is tremendous, especially when you consider what the study says about lower felony arrests and incarceration rates.

More than 600 members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids from all 50 states have signed a letter to Congress saying that high-quality early care and education programs can improve public safety and provide significant savings to taxpayers over the long term.

Law enforcement leaders who are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids have participated in press conferences in 38 cities across the country since April 1 in calling on members of Congress not to cut these programs and to make sure they are included as a critical part of new federal education reform.

Here is a quick summary of what the new research shows:

· As adults, those left out of the preschool were 27 percent more likely to have been arrested for a felony by age 28 (24.6 percent vs. 19.3 percent) and were 39 percent more likely to have spent time in jail and/or prison (21.1 percent vs. 15.2%).

· Those who did not receive the preschool program were 39 percent more likely to suffer from drug or alcohol abuse (23.0 percent vs. 16.5 percent).

· Those males and females whose parents had been dropouts benefited even more. The rate of felony arrests for those in that group who did not attend the preschool was 81 percent higher than for those who did attend (25.2 percent vs. 13.9 percent).

· All those who attended the preschool were 21 percent more likely to graduate from high school on time, (44.3 percent vs. 36.6 percent); 31 percent more likely to have attended a 4-year college (14.7 percent vs. 11.2 percent); and, as they began their earning careers, were already earning 7 percent more a year ($786 per year).

While the new research does not yet present a cost-benefit analysis, earlier findings found that the Child-Parent Centers produced more than ten dollars in savings for every dollar invested. With these new results, including the incarceration results, the cost benefit results are likely to go up.