Members of law enforcement in Central New York are supporting a Federally-funded early childhood education proposal they say would reduce the number of low-income youngsters who end up in jail.
The idea from the Obama Administration, called Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, could save New York an estimated $282 million by reducing the number of inmates, and should cost $75 billion total over the next decade (in comparison with the $75 billion it takes annually to fund prisons throughout the country).
Onondaga County Justice Center Chief Custody Deputy Esteban Gonzalez explained that good early child education could result in two million more high school graduates.
Gonzalez was joined by members of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department and Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler in urging Washington to enact the program. Fowler estimates that if the program was implemented, New York could find itself with 6,500 fewer inmates every year, and he says that equates to big savings for taxpayers.
In addition to aid for expanding pre-school education for four-year-olds, the program also provides support for early maternal and infant home visitation programs, childhood development, parenting skills, and programs to reduce abuse and neglect. Janice Grieshaber, state co-chair of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, spoke to the tangible impact that these programs can have on children’s long-term decisions and opportunities.
There are currently over 2.3 million adults incarcerated in the United States.