FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2014
State’s Attorney calls for Funding of Kids’ Programs to Prevent Crime
Joins Law Enforcement Leaders to meet with Illinois Lawmakers in Springfield
Union County State’s Attorney Tyler R. Edmonds recently joined nearly a dozen other Illinois prosecutors, police chiefs and sheriffs in Springfield to express deepening concern to lawmakers over continued cuts to programs for children that prevent crime.
“We can continue to spend tens of millions each year on prosecution and incarceration for the foreseeable future, or we can spend far less now on programs that ensure kids don’t grow up to become criminals,” said State’s Attorney Edmonds. “We can save money taking the latter route, and we will have fewer problems with crime and violence down the road.”
The group met with all four legislative leaders last week: House Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, Senate President John Cullerton, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno. They also met with several other legislators who will play a key role in developing the state’s FY15 budget.
The law enforcement leaders represented over 300 law enforcement leaders who are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois, an anti-crime organization that advocates for evidence-based investments in programs for kids that are proven to cut crime and violence.
To keep kids away from crime and violence, the group urged that the FY2015 state budget protect funding for strategies that work:
- Maintain funding for preschool, and start to restore previous cuts. Due to repeated funding cuts, the state preschool program has lost 25,000 slots for children in the past five years. This works against law enforcement’s experience and rigorous research that supports the value of preschool. A study of the Perry Preschool in Michigan tracked at-risk children who attended the program and similar children left-out until age 40. At age 27, those left-out as children were five times more likely to have been arrested for drug felonies and twice as likely to have been arrested for violent crimes. The program demonstrated savings to society of $17 for every $1 invested, including $11 of savings coming from lowered crime.
- Protect funding for Redeploy Illinois. The juvenile justice program Redeploy Illinois allows counties to provide appropriate accountability and supportive services to juvenile offenders in their own communities as an alternative to sending them to corrections facilities. Recent data show that juvenile offenders in participating counties re-offend at significantly lower low rates.
- Preserve funding for home-visiting programs to prevent child abuse and neglect. The group also urged the General Assembly not to cut key child abuse and neglect prevention programs. Cuts to these home-visiting programs, known as Healthy Families and Parents Too Soon, would put Illinois in danger of losing $31 million in federal funding for such efforts. Research demonstrates that voluntary home-visiting programs, which provide “coaching” to new parents of at-risk youngsters, curb the rate of child abuse and future crime. A study of the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), a model home-visiting program, found that the program cut child abuse and neglect in half and reduced kids’ and mothers’ later arrests by about 60 percent.
FIGHT CRIME: INVEST IN KIDS ILLINOIS is the state office of a national, non-profit, bipartisan, anti-crime organization of more than 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, leaders of law enforcement organizations, and victims of crime. It has over 300 members in Illinois.