The report found that increasing the male graduation rate would decrease crime nationwide. According to the report, annual incidences of assault would decrease by nearly 60,000, larceny by more than 37,000, motor vehicle theft by more than 31,000 and burglaries by more than 17,000.
The increased graduation rate would also prevent nearly 1,300 murders, more than 3,800 occurrences of rape and more than 1,500 robberies, according to the report.
In Pennsylvania, the potential savings from a five percent increase in the male high school graduation rate is enormous. The report estimates $737 million in savings in crime related costs and an additional $48 million is earnings and tax revenue from individuals who are employed and not incarcerated.
There is more to the crime and education connection than just course work and passing grades. The combination of largely unnoticed actions undertaken by individual schools affects education climates for millions of students in thousands of schools across the country. These school climates, in turn, often profoundly affect student performance.
Nationwide, many high schools are using zero-tolerance policies that often suspend, criminalize, and incarcerate youth. A recent study by The Civil Rights Project estimated that one in every nine secondary school students had been suspended in the 2009–10 academic year. Students who are suspended once in the ninth grade are found to be twice as likely to drop out as those students not suspended.
An investment in education is an investment in crime prevention. The potential to save money, generate revenue and minimize the anguish that comes with victimization is too important to ignore.
(Image: Comstock and AndreyPopov/ Getty Images)
Matthew T. Mangino is of counsel with Luxenberg, Garbett, Kelly & George, P.C. He is the former district attorney of Lawrence County and just completed a six year term on the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. His weekly column on crime and punishment is syndicated by GateHouse New Service. You can read his musings on the criminal justice system at www.mattmangino.com and follow Matt on Twitter @MatthewTMangino.