I was pleased to read retired Maj. Gen. Earl Adams’ recent Compass about the importance of pre-K for ensuring our military readiness (“More pre-K investments needed for our future national security,” March 21). As Augusta’s police chief, I want to emphasize the point that high-quality pre-K also can give children a foundation for long-term academic success and reduce the likelihood they will become involved in crime.

The proof lies in decades-long studies such as the one Adams mentioned, which followed children from low-income families who participated in a quality pre-K program and those from a control group that didn’t participate. It showed children who had not participated in the program were five times more likely to be chronic lawbreakers with five or more arrests by age 27. By age 40, those who did not attend were 50 percent more likely to be arrested for violent crimes.

The connection between academic failure and crime is especially apparent here in Maine, where 54 percent of those in our state prisons have less than a high school education. For these reasons and more, I join law enforcement leaders across Maine in urging our governor and legislators to find additional resources that will enable continued expansion of our public pre-K program. These additional investments will support success for more children today while helping to ensure the safety of our communities for many years to come.

Robert C. Gregoire

Augusta Chief of Police

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