March 21, 2006 :
Bill sent the following letter opposing cuts in the Head Start program to our two Florida Senators (Nelson and Martinez) and our Florida House Representative Connie Brown. Having learned that snail mail to Congressional offices is slowed down to be inspected for disease germs, and emails rarely get read, we have resorted to sending communications by Fax using the FaxItNice Internet Fax service.
I am a strong supporter of the Head Start program as it operates today and urge you to act to strengthen, rather weaken, the program. I oppose any efforts to dismantle this program by shifting oversight to the states. In addition, I am against any caps or across-the-board cuts in federal discretionary spending, which will reduce Head Start funding.
Research has proven that Head Start is the single most effective program ever devised for reducing delinquency, criminal behavior, and adolescent entrance into the criminal justice system. In 2004 the total federal budget for Head Start was only $6,773,909,000.
Meanwhile the U.S. has highest prison population per capita in the world - 701 per 100,000 at year end 2004 for a total of 2,267,787 inmates. The average annual cost per inmate per prison year is over $20,000. Construction costs alone for new Federal prisons in 2001 - 2003 exceeded 1.2 billion dollars. We are currently spending over 18 billion dollars a year on the war on drugs alone.
I want more support for Head Start and less need for building more and more prisons. As you begin to meet on this subject in the Senate/House, I ask you to weigh in and help increase funding for Head Start.
Please let me know what you are doing about this.