Law Enforcement: High-Quality Pre-K Helps Drive Children's Path to Success and Protects Public Safety
The path to success in life is driven by school readiness, the ability to get along with others and regulate and control behavior, academic achievement, and pathways to meaningful careers.
While no child is destined at birth to end up incarcerated, the road to criminal behavior is paved with such challenges as poverty, childhood abuse and neglect, parenting challenges, inadequate preparation for school, unaddressed behavior problems, poor academic performance, and, ultimately, dropping out of school and engaging in crime. All too often these problems can plague families for generations. The path to success in life is driven by school readiness, the ability to get along with others and regulate and control behavior, academic achievement, and pathways to meaningful careers.
Law enforcement leaders know that one of the best ways to keep young people from becoming involved in crime later on is to make sure they have a foundation for success in their earliest years. By providing access to high-quality early education for kids today, we can see less crime and incarceration in the future while reaping millions in taxpayer savings and other economic benefits.
This is why Pennsylvania’s century-old law enforcement associations―the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, the Pennsylvania Sheriffs’ Association, and the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association—have partnered with Fight Crime: Invest in Kids for almost 20 years in supporting greater access to high- quality pre-kindergarten in order to help break the often generational cycle of crime.
Being smart on crime involves being proactive and investing in proven strategies that put young people on a path filled with opportunity and out of the criminal justice system, saving taxpayer money in the long run. High-quality pre-k is one of those strategies.
Heather Adams, Lancaster County District Attorney
While we know that “crime doesn’t pay,” Pennsylvania does pay for crime. Even though overall crime rates are decreasing in many jurisdictions, Pennsylvania is still spending nearly $2.55 billion annually on incarcerating adults at the local and state levels.
Pennsylvania’s law enforcement leaders believe that government’s most fundamental responsibility is to protect the public safety. Government cannot fully meet this responsibility, however, without making sure that Pennsylvania’s children most at-risk of educational failure have access to interventions that will help form the foundations of productive and law-abiding lives. We have a choice today, and it boils down to dollars and common sense. If we invest in our kids today, we will pay far less for the costs of crime and lack of educational success in the years to come. That’s being “smart” on crime.