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.