Report | October 14, 2021

Police Chiefs, Sheriffs, Prosecutors, and Violence Survivors: “Preschool Works”

Law enforcement leaders advocating for 25 years to improve public safety through early education

Law enforcement leaders understand 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. For this reason, since 1996, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members have advocated for investments in policies and programs that put kids on the path toward productive lives. In particular, by providing access to high-quality early education for kids today, we can see less crime and incarceration in the future, while reaping economic and societal benefits.

I myself am the proud product of a Head Start program, and can attest to the lifelong benefits that come as a result of quality early education.

Chief Mitchell Davis, Hazel Crest, IL Police Department

In 1996, in response to rising crime levels and the 1994 federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that focused on responding to crime, a group of advocates, law enforcement leaders (including former Attorney General Elliott Richardson), and crime survivors came together to consider strategies to prevent criminal behavior. The group, having seen the crime-reducing effects of the seminal Perry Preschool study, determined that quality early education would be among their priorities, and Fight Crime: Invest in Kids was born.

Over the past 25 years, we have seen great progress in increasing kids’ access to preschool education, which research shows can improve academic performance–including high school graduation–and reduce the risk that participants will become involved in crime later. However, much work remains to be done, as a recent analysis demonstrated that it will take a concerted effort to serve all children from low-income families by 2040.

State and federal policymakers need to prioritize early education so more kids can grow up to lead successful lives.

Sheriff Vernon Stanforth, Fayette County, OH Sheriff’s Office

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, members are calling on federal and state policymakers to ensure that more children from low-income families have access to high-quality preschool. By bolstering access to quality early education, we will improve children’s readiness to succeed in school and life, helping them to avoid crime, and enabling them to contribute to the strength of our nation.


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