Southeast PA Prosecutors: Pay Now for Pre-K or Pay Later for Crime

KING OF PRUSSIA (April 29) – Southeast Pennsylvania prosecutors who are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids participated in a regional Pre-K for PA legislative breakfast today to release a new report –We’re The Guys You Pay Later – documenting how Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed $120 million state funding increase for high-quality pre-kindergarten programs could boost high school graduation rates, reduce the number of people who are incarcerated in Pennsylvania and lead to more than $350 million annually in Corrections and other cost savings to society over the lifetimes of the children served.

Delaware County District Attorney John J. Whelan, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams, and Chester County District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan all participated in a panel discussion that focused on research documenting the impact of high-quality early childhood programs on educational and life outcomes for at-risk children and the resulting crime reduction.

Media Coverage:

The Kennett Times – Hogan, area DAs push for PreK to cut crime (run in 3 regional newspapers)
“I know from years of experience that we can’t simply arrest, prosecute and incarcerate our way out of our crime problems,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman. “We have to implement strategies that keep people from turning to crime in the first place. High-quality pre-k is one of those strategies.” Read full article.

Norristown Times-Herald -Philadelphia region district attorneys agree: Pay for pre-k education now, or prison later (run in 5 regional newspapers
“I think it speaks volumes as to the fact that all of us share how important it is for our children, for our community to invest in pre-k education,” said Delaware County District Attorney John J. Whelan. Whelan said he, Ferman, Williams and Hogan are all parents and understand that dilemma facing Pennsylvania. He explained that in Delaware County, his office prosecutes approximately 10,000 cases a year and an additional 4,000 cases in the county’s juvenile justice system. “Can we avoid this? I believe many of these cases can be avoided. Many of the adults, many of juveniles by investing in pre-k programs,” Whelan said. Read the full article.

NBC10 – Local DAs: Pay for Pre-K or Pay for Crime Later
A conference advocating for early education and Pre-K programs that proponents say could boost graduation rates and reduce the number of people who wind up incarcerated if every three and four-year-old had access. Watch the video.

The Intelligencer -Jim Cawley leads call for expansion of early learning
A Bucks County man shared the experience of his son to underline the value of early education for kids between ages 3 and 5.
The man said when he and his wife adopted a son, the child was behind socially, emotionally, academically and physically when compared to his peers. Read the full article

CBS3 -Local DAs: “Pay Now For Pre-K or Pay Later For Crime”
Among the speakers was Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan. He says studies show money can be spent on children now when they’re young, or…“Or they’ll have to deal with me as a prosecutor later,” Hogan says, “when they’ve taken the wrong steps in life, when they haven’t had the right support and they’re in the criminal justice system, and that’s too late.” Hogan compares quality pre-K education to immunizations. “When we’re out with police, you will run into three or four-year-old kids that are in a family, and the police will say to you, based on their background, they’re going to end up in the criminal justice system someday.” Read the full article.

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