Early Education Program Could Reduce Kansas Prison Costs

Early Education Program Could Reduce Kansas Prison Costs

By The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Wyandotte County law enforcement officials have endorsed a plan that calls for investing in early childhood education as a way to cut down on crime and prison costs.

Sheriff Don Ash, District Attorney Jerry Gorman, and jail administrator Jeffrey Fewell endorsed a proposal from the Obama administration to spend $75 billion over a 10-year period for a high-quality state-federal government program, The Kansas City Star reported ). They said that is the same amount spent every year to incarcerate the country’s inmates.

At a news conference Thursday, officials also released a national report outlining the link between early childhood education and crime reduction. The report from the nonprofit organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids says a national early education program for children from low- and moderate-income families could save Kansas $35 million a year in incarceration costs. The report says children involved in such programs were more likely to graduate from high school and less likely to be incarcerated.

“These programs are fiscally smart,” Gorman said.

Nearly 70 percent of inmates booked into the Wyandotte County Jail this year did not have a high school diploma, Ash said.

“My jail is filled with criminals who have been on the wrong path since a very young age,” Ash said. “It’s not too difficult to connect the dots when it comes to academic failure and criminal activity.”

(Information from SFGate)