Increase grad rates to cut crime, report suggests

August 20, 2008 3:06:10 PM PDT
Fixing graduation rates could cut violent crime in Illinois. That's the conclusion of a new report released Wednesday by a group of law enforcement leaders called Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. Fight Crime found that high school dropouts are 3.5 times more likely than high school graduates to be arrested and more than eight times more likely to be in jail or prison.

The group says increasing Illinois' graduation rate by 10 percentage points would prevent 160 murders and more than 8,000 aggravated assaults each year.

"We are making sure parents and children understand the importance of education. It will not only provide a brighter future for your child in terms of job opportunities, but it is the most effective way to keep our children out of the criminal justice system, out of jail and out of prison," said Lisa Madigan, Illinois attorney general.

Fight Crime says early intervention is key. The group is urging support for preschool programs such as Head Start.