Numerous studies of high-quality early childhood education (ECE) programs have found they led to a reduction in crime or led to other outcomes linked to a decrease in criminal behavior. These programs can lead to less abuse and neglect, fewer behavior problems, better performance in school, fewer high school dropouts, and, ultimately, fewer crimes committed and a reduction in the number of prisoners. This entry summarizes the research linking ECE and crime reduction.

ECE Contributions to Crime Reduction

There is a well-documented relationship between education and crime. According to a U.S. Justice Department report from 2003, seven out of ten state prisoners do not have a high school diploma. Economists who studied the relationship over time between changes in graduation rates and crime concluded that a ...

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