BLOG: Invest in Pre-K, Not Prisons

first_img Budget News,  Criminal Justice Reform,  Education,  Schools That Teach,  The Blog We know at least two big things about the criminal justice system in Pennsylvania:First, we’re spending way too much money on prisons that could be spent on roads, schools or programs for our seniors and most vulnerable.Second, too many young people are getting caught up in the system before they even get a chance and far too many are likely to return after leaving.There is a way to address these problems head on. But it starts in the pre-k classroom far away from any jail, courtroom or police station.There are two paths we can take: invest in early childhood education now, or start building more prisons.I support Governor Wolf’s historic investment – $60 million or a 30.5 percent increase – in early childhood education, which is included in his 2016-2017 budget proposal.This funding increase builds upon the $60 million investment in 2015-16 to enroll about 14,000 children in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Program.Studies show that children who participate in high-quality pre-kindergarten perform better in school, graduate at higher rates and earn more throughout their working lives. And in some studies, children without pre-k were 70 percent more likely to be arrest for a violent crime by age 18.A recent report by a non-partisan law enforcement-led group called ‘Fight Crime: Invest in Kids’ estimated that Governor Wolf’s $120 million state funding increase for early childhood education will also eventually lead to $350 million in Corrections and other cost savings for the Commonwealth every year.Currently, Pennsylvania spends more than $2 billion annually—about seven percent of the state budget—to house about 50,000 inmates. Yet, only 30 percent of Pennsylvania children in families earning up to three times the federal poverty level – or $72,750 for a family of four – are enrolled in high-quality pre-k programs.It is time to change this nonsensical reality in Pennsylvania — it is time to choose to invest in pre-k now, and spend less on prisons later. By: John E. Wetzel, Secretary of Corrections Read more posts about Governor Wolf’s 2016-17 budget.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf BLOG: Invest in Pre-K, Not Prisonscenter_img February 26, 2016 SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *