Using Education to Prevent Crime

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To create a cost model for this program one must look at the historic costs of education. In 1960 President Lyndon Johnson started the War on Poverty program. Instituting the Head Start program was a part of this initiative (Siegel, Welsh, & Senna, 2006). Funding for this program exceeds seven billion dollars today. This cost is just a minimal fraction of the total education costs of the country (Siegel, 2007). The cost of improvements to the education system needed to reduce crime would likely be measured in the billions of dollars, if not hundreds of billions. However, some of the costs could be offset by other budgets that would benefit from the improved education system. It has been shown that children who receive better early education have better health, immunization rates, nutrition, and better emotional characteristics (Siegel, Welsh, & Sienna, 2006). The lowered cost of health care could be used to further the educational funding.

Many programs of this type fail because of a lack of funding. The programs such as MOBY, short for Mobilization for Youth, did not show enough benefit to offset their cost (Siegel, Welsh, & Sienna, 2006). This program would have the bonus of improving not only crime rates but also the economy and the health costs of Americans. Increasing education could pay itself off relatively quickly. Possible Outcomes

To understand the benefits of education on crime prevention it is important to understand just how much crime costs American citizens. In 2001 correctional authorities spent $38.2 billion to maintain state correctional systems, including youth and adult facilities (U.S. Department of Justice, 2004). Daily operational expenses for these facilities totaled $28.4 billion, and costs for building and renovations cost $1.1 billion that year. Each inmate’s annual operating cost was about $22,650 in 2001, or $62.05 per day. These costs were double of what they were in 1986, and cost each U.S. citizen about $100 a year (U.S....
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