Law enforcement leaders say expanded preschools in the state could keep those same kids from ending up in prison later. The group Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois joined with several police chiefs in asking Congress to act on a proposal that would give Illinois’ preschool programs $2.9 billion in additional funds over the next 10 years. The leaders claim that investing in early childhood education will lead to higher high school graduation rates, which will in turn reduce the number of people in prisons and jails throughout Illinois.
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“We want to see young people in caps and gowns, not handcuffs and jumpsuits,” said Tim McCarthy, the group’s state director. The leaders say the $75 billion in funding nationwide will eventually pay for itself. “That’s more than one-tenth of what we spend on incarceration,” said Lemont Police Chief Kevin Shaughnessy.
More than 100 police chiefs, sheriffs and state’s attorneys from Illinois signed the letter sent to Congress.