Research published in the journal Science shows that high-quality early care and education programs can help reduce felony arrests, incarceration rates, and substance abuse among adults who as children attended them, says the organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. The University of Minnesota study follows the educational and social development of more than 1,400 low-income, minority children from high-poverty Chicago neighborhoods. The research is the longest follow-up ever of an established large-scale early childhood program.
“The research offers important new evidence that high-quality early care and education programs can help reduce future crime and save taxpayers millions of dollars,” said the organization’s Miriam Rollin, who said that states spend 10 times as much on corrections as on pre-kindergarten programs. The Minnesota study said that as adults, those left out of the preschool program were 27 percent more likely to have been arrested for a felony by age 28 and 39 percent more likely to have spent time in jail and/or prison than those who did participate.