"Fight Crime, Invest in Kids" - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

"Fight Crime, Invest in Kids"

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WALLA WALLA, Wash. - Two million Americans are behind bars right now. In Washington, there are 17,000 inmates. That equates to more than $840 million spent on incarceration every year. But a new program gaining support around the nation aims to keep more people out of prison and save money for taxpayers. 


Quality early education is the focus of "Fight Crime, Invest in Kids." It's a proposal from President Obama and claims that by investing in pre-k programs it will help keep people out of prison and jail.

This effort would cost $75 billion over ten years. Right now, that much is spent each year on incarceration costs. More than 5,000 local, state and federal leader - both Republican and Democrat - support the president's proposal.


"When that many sheriff's, prosecutors and police chiefs all step up to support something together, that's significant and underscores that law enforcement leaders across this state support this investment," said Walla Walla County Sheriff John Turner.

"We are learning the advantage of really focusing on our young families and really making sure kids know that we all, as a community, as a society, have their backs," said Representative Maureen Walsh.

Walla Walla leaders at Thursday's press conference all signed a letter that will go to Congress asking for support of the program. 

In a report that the Walla Walla leaders released, they claim the plan would ultimately keep 1,700 people out of prison and jail each year and save taxpayers an estimated $84 million.