Research says children who attend preschool are less likely to commit crimes


Web Editor - Mason Stevenson

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. - Researchers and law enforcement officials are saying that if your child attends preschool, they will be less likely to live a life of crime later on.

A study done in Michigan said that at age 27, an adult who did not go to Pre-K is five times more likely to have been arrested for drugs and twice as likely to have gone to jail for committing violent crimes.

Even with that strong research, the early childhood development budget still faces cuts in Illinois, and law enforcement officials and teachers alike want to keep that from happening.

With the state that Illinois is in fiscally, the cuts have to come from somewhere, and even proponents of early childhood development understand that.

Their hope is that the cuts level off at $300 million, which is where the budget is now, but advocates know that can change in an instant as this budget works its way through the house and senate.

Thursday, Sheriff Don Jones took a break from his day job to read to a group of preschool children.

He is convinced that kids who do not attend preschool are at a disadvantage.

"A lot of them, when they come into kindergarten, aren't exposed to the written language, the written word, haven't maybe had a book read to them, haven't memorized books the way kids used to," said Jones.

Curriculum Coordinator, Diane Richey, says the idea is that the better a child does in school, the less likely they are to be criminally involved.

"If you were to look some research and look at the ISAT test in Illinois for 4th, 8th and 12th graders that attended high quality early childhood development programming, they score higher on those tests across the board," said Richey.

States Attorney, Tyler Edmonds, says funding early development is actually more cost effective for the state.

"It's about making an investment. Spending dimes now, not dollars later to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate," said Edmonds.

It is Sheriff Jones' hope to never run into any of the kiddos he read to on Thursday, later on down the road.

"They're much more likely to become productive citizens and much less likely to engage in behavior where they'll meet somebody like me," said Jones.

He says he will continue to fight for this cuase until the state stops the budget cuts.