I was pleased to read your recent editorial calling for more investments in early learning. As the Chief of Police, I would like to expand on the crime prevention benefits of high-quality early education. A long-term study in Michigan found that children who did not attend high-quality preschool were five times more likely to be chronic criminal offenders by age 27 than the children who attended. A study in Chicago found that kids who attended a high-quality preschool were 20 percent less likely to be arrested for a felony or be incarcerated as young adults than those who did not attend the preschool. In addition to preschool, voluntary, high-quality home visiting programs for young, low-income parents can lower crime and save taxpayers’ money. A study of a nurse-family partnership program showed that high-risk mothers who did not receive home visits had more than three times as many crime convictions in later years than those who participated in the program. The Washington State Institute for Public Policy found that this home visiting program produced net savings of over $17,000 for every family served. Your editorial points out that our state legislature should “double down” on investments in early learning programs and I would add high-quality home visiting programs, too. This makes fiscal sense for taxpayers and is common sense for everyone who wants safer communities.
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