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More Early Education Means Less Crime, Study Says

A new report says pre-kindergarten programs are an essential tool in fighting crime.

Brian Lee is the California director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, which produced the report . It's a national nonprofit representing law enforcement agencies and crime survivors.

Lee said early education is key because learning gaps can show up even before a child enters school. That minor learning gap can mean a child never catches up in school, drops out earlier and is more vulnerable to ending up on the wrong side of the law.


“Our law enforcement leader members are police chiefs and sheriffs and district attorneys up and down the state who are really trying to deal with the issues of public safety realignment and prison and jail overcrowding," Lee said.

"They repeatedly tell us, that if we really want to make public safety realignment a success and make sure our jails and prisons aren’t overcrowded, we have to invest in early education, because that’s what keeps kids from becoming criminals in the first place."

Lee said about half of lower-income children are not getting access to preschool programs, though San Diego’s children are doing a little better than most of rest of the state.

According to the report, preschool education saves California an average of $22,000 per low-income individual.

The group released the report as legislators debate funding for pre-K education in Sacramento.

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