Societal, social and financial benefits – In the United States, we incarcerate a higher percentage of our population than any other country in the world, which is an issue that we should, quite frankly, be embarrassed about. Apparently something isn’t working. There seems to be a steady flow of new inmates coming along as the older ones are either released or die off. Unfortunately the flow seems to be increasing rather than decreasing. Do you know we spend more money on our prisons than we do on education?
According to a recent article in USA Today, over $444 Billion is spent annualy on mental illness costs for treatment, disability benefits and lost earnings. 108,000 hospital beds at any given time are taken up by those who have serious mental illness. More than 5 times that amount, 590,000, end up in alternative institutions – jail, city streets and homeless shelters – or the morgue.
Mental illness and youth suicide is increasing. Childhood obesity is increasing and something has to be done or else we’re going to find ourselves in a total catastrophe.
As we know, our founding father Ben Franklin stated, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In dealing with babies, it’s more like an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure. The cost of incarcerating one citizen today is in excess of $40,000/year. So a lifetime prisoner can cost the taxpayers $1,000,000 or more when you also count the costs of law enforcement, judicial and prison expenses. One baby that is well nurtured can become a productive citizen and can benefit all of us as opposed to an abused baby that can cost us all, not just financially, but socially as well. Well nurtured babies are a benefit to our society and create a much safer and better place to live.
We can reverse those trends by helping parents, the best caregivers, raise healthier and happier babies. There is a solution pure and simple, which is to start to decrease future inmates, mental illness, and create a healthier society where people are more responsible, productive and capable. It’s not an easy solution, but the best way to reduce the endemic proliferation of unhealthy citizens is to start with our babies. Healthy and well functioning babies most often turn into better citizens; it’s that simple. And the best way to produce those healthy babies is to nurture them in ways that reduce the risks.
Sure, it’s incredibly idealistic to think one can change the world easily. We can at least put our forces together to create momentum in a more positive direction. One baby at a time can make a great difference over time.