KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - A state and federal partnership aims to decrease the number of people in prisons and save Michigan more than $200 million in the next 10 years by educating students starting in preschool.
The "I'm the Guy You Pay Later" report found that a state and federal partnership to fund preschool programs could decrease incarceration by as many as 4,300 people over 10 years, according to a release from Congressman Fred Upton's office.
Upton (R-St. Joseph) and southwest Michigan law enforcement officials held a press conference Monday at the Kalamazoo County Jail to release the report by the non-profit Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.
"My jail is filled with people who took the wrong path in life," Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller said in a statement. "For many, the trouble began with academic struggles and behavioral problems early on, resulting in later school failure and crime. It shouldn't have to be that way."
The $75 billion project is the same amount spent each near nationally to imprison more than 2 million people. Michigan alone spends $2 billion each year on incarceration.
The plan could save Michigan $206 million over 10 years. It could also increase the number of high school students by 50,000, the release said.
Berrien County Undersheriff Chuck Heit said in the report that the choice is simple: "Pay for quality early education and care for Michigan's kids now, or pay far more for the costs of crime in Michigan in the decade to come."
"I've been a long-time advocate of good, quality preschool programming," Upton said in a statement. "This can help reduce special education costs, help kids keep on track so they graduate on time, or give them a solid foundation so they're less likely to make bad decisions as they're growing up."
Read the report online
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