Posted: Oct 10, 2013 8:24 AM by Joe Huisinga - MTN News
Updated: Oct 10, 2013 8:29 AM
GREAT FALLS - A group called "Fight Crime: Invest In Kids" released a report on Wednesday in conjunction with the Cascade County Sheriff's Office and the Great Falls Police Department.
The report is titled "I'm The Guy You Pay Later," and it addresses the connection between early childhood education and reducing crime.
According to the report 80% of males and 75% of females housed in Montana correctional facilities are high school dropouts.
Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards is supporting a plan which aims to reduce the number of people in the corrections system.
Edwards said, "I've got folks in this jail that I've talked to personally that cannot read or write. We have to have somebody help them out or record their statment."
The plan calls for state and federal investment of $75 billion over a 10-year period into early childhood education.
This cost is the same as what is currently spent every year on corrections nationwide, and Edwards believes the investment will be well worth it.
Edwards said, "I got involved simply because they pitched the program to me and I'm all about early education because I had the early education, came from a low-income family, I ended up going to a Head Start and look at me now, I'm the Sheriff of Cascade County, so I believe the program works."
The report estimates the investment in preschool will produce an additional 6,300 high school graduates in Montana, and 2 million across the nation.
The report also claims that the program will reduce the number of people incarcerated in Montana by 200 and save just over $18 million every year.
Sheriff Edwards and David Curry, the leader of the Montana chapter of Fight Crime: Invest In Kids, will be traveling to Washington D.C. later this month to talk with Montana's Congressional delegation and urge them to make this investment.
Click here to learn more about the Fight Crime Invest In Kids program, including this overview:
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids is a national, non-profit, bi-partisan organization of more than 5,000 chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, attorneys general and violence survivors.
The best way to prevent crime and violence is through investments in quality early childhood education, voluntary in-home parent coaching, after-school programs, and interventions for troubled youth. Investments in kids make us safer and pay for themselves many times over.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids undertakes four major areas of activity:
Strategic recruitment and education of law enforcement leaders and crime survivors.
Analysis of research and policy and production of reports.
Earned (not paid) public education media campaign.
Education of policy-makers and opinion leaders.