ABC 16: Corrections Secretary: More Funding for Pre-K Will Reduce Crime
April 18, 2019 By Jessica Albert

The secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections came to Luzerne County highlight the importance of education when it comes to decreasing crime.

State leaders believe spending more money on pre-kindergarten will save money for the state’s prison system which costs about $2 billion to run each year.

“I think most citizens really want kids to have an opportunity to be successful, and I think that when citizens hear that if we invest money in quality early childhood education, we can spend a lot less money on places like SCI Dallas,” said Secretary John Wetzel, Department of Corrections.

Wetzel came to the State Correctional Institution-Dallas in Luzerne County to release a report in support of Governor Wolf’s budget. It proposes spending $50 million for Pre-K programs across the state.

Ingrid Everett, a Bloomsburg University faculty member who teaches early childhood education classes, was in attendance.

“Having worked with Head Start for a number of years, I’ve really seen how much you can support children in developing and I’ve also seen how it can help support the families, too,” Everett said.

Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis is one of the people who support this program. She says she’s seeing younger offenders committing more serious crimes.

“We in the district attorney’s office and law enforcement in Luzerne County see a lot of young children getting involved in criminal acts, and we want to do more to prevent that and this today, what we stand behind, this is proven that it will keep them from being involved in the criminal justice system,” said Salavantis.

Watch the video here.