Programs which mentor, as one lawmaker put it, the “underserved,” can be thrifty investments, compared to the cost of incarcerating people when they get older. “In Chicago, only three out of 100 black boys earn a college degree by age 25,” Phillip Jackson told a House panel. Jackson is founder of the Black Star Project, one of the programs discussed. “The graduation rates ... from high school (in Illinois are) ... 47 percent for black males, 59 percent for Latino males, and 81 percent for white males.

“You’re seeing how the educational failure of a group feeds unemployment, underemployment, and, eventually, incarceration and crime, and a community breakdown,” Jackson continued.


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“Someone told me that (for) every dollar we spend on prevention,” State Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) agreed, “we save between 7 and 14 (dollars that would be spent on) juvenile (justice) services or incarceration.

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