Study reveals high cost of crime - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Study reveals high cost of crime

A typical cell inside the Shelby County Corrections Center is not exactly The Peabody. But housing just one inmate does add up.

"We're paying, like 46 dollars a day," says Interim Director Andrew Taber. "And that's pretty conservative," he adds.

We got an inside look at what's commonly called the penal farm. The two top officials showed us around. While changes have been made at this more than 70-year-old facility, one thing hasn't changed. Costs have continually risen.

"I think the cost of prisons are really a concern," says Taber.

But it's not just the cost of the lock-up. Economist Mark Cohen determined the overall cost of a teenager who becomes a career criminal.

"Costs society about two million dollars for on child who's gone down the wrong path," says Cohen, who teaches at Vanderbilt University.

Cohen looked at a lot to come up with that $2 million figure.

"In terms of the victim who ends up in the hospital and has to take time off from work," says Cohen. "Increased court costs and incarceration costs," he adds.

But, experts say those costs can be combatted.

"The more you can do as far as mentoring and parenting at and early age, the better the chances are," says Taber.

This new study was done by Cohen for the department of justice. Local officials plan to use the information to help in their continual effort to cut down on costs.

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