Carson looks to early education to fight crime
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Officials in Carson City are taking up the call for a federal proposal that would invest billions of dollars in pre-k and early education programs.
It's part of a national bi-partisan campaign, supported by more than 5,000 members of law enforcement, that seeks to reduce the state's incarcerated population. In Nevada, almost 60 percent of inmates cannot read or write.
"These are troubling statistics, but I see the human toll day after day as people come through the doors of this jail who can barely read or write."
That's Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong who is spearheading the local effort to get federal investment in the education system. Furlong says Nevada could save 26 million dollars a year and reduce the prison population by 1,300, if this state-federal program was implemented. The program is expected to be proposed in Congress in the coming weeks.
Judge Kristin Luis says when students don't have that early education experience, it very quickly limits their options.
"What bothers me is when I see kids in the juvenile system by the time they reach the age of eight or ten, and I see more of them than I would like to see. Changing the course for them at that age is a lot more difficult if we haven't built that foundation sooner."
The national program would be free for Nevada for the first three years and after that there would be cost sharing between the state and federal government.
Carson City has the highest violent crime rate per 100,000 people than any other county in the state, with more than 18,000 violent crimes annually. Officials say that's linked to the fact that 38 percent of students do not graduate on time.