Brief | December 13, 2018

We Are The Ones You Pay Later

Maine law enforcement leaders urge policymakers to cut crime by investing in quality early care and education

Maine sheriffs and chiefs have a direct message for everyone who cares about the impact and cost of crime: Maine’s jails are full of people serving time for serious and costly crimes. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Providing at-risk kids with high-quality early learning opportunities through pre-K, Head Start, and child care programs can reduce the human and fiscal costs of crime in the future.

Maine spends nearly $167 million a year on corrections, which can easily be reduced by investing in early childhood education.

The number one priority for Maine law enforcement officers is protecting the safety of their communities, which they achieve by arresting, prosecuting and, when necessary, incarcerating people who commit crimes. But ultimately, the best opportunity to improve public safety is to keep people from becoming involved in crime in the first place. Maine spends nearly $167 million a year on corrections, which can easily be reduced by investing in early childhood education. The choice is simple: Pay for high-quality early care and education programs now, or pay far more later for the costs of crime.

States

  1. Maine