Louisiana spends more per day on Inmate VS college Student

Louisiana spends more per day on Inmate VS college Student

Baton Rouge, La (FOX44) (LOCAL 33) - 33-year-old Department of Corrections inmate Joseph Branch known as Joey is doing 7 1/2 years for vehicular homicide.

"I was drinking and driving one night and had an accident and a life was lost, so I ended up at Elayn Hunt," said Branch.

Behind bars, Joey is changing his life and working towards a Bachelor's Degree in Communication and he's also a literacy tutor.

"Was kind of a foreign concept to me at first, I thought everybody knew how to read that was an adult and that's not the case at all," said Branch.

Rhett Covington, with the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, believes in rehabilitation.

"I started realizing there is more to rehabilitation to someone's life than simply punishing them," said Covington.

Covington said it costs roughly $54 dollars per day locking up someone like Joey, but according to LSU the state spends only $11 per day for college students state-wide.

"One of the reasons it is so expensive in state prison, we house people who have longer sentences, disciplinary problems, medical problems, mental health issues said Covington.

Costs have also gone up year after year.

"The costs of food, housing, and clothing everything goes up every year,"said Covington.

But part of costs are also for programs and educating prisoners. It is a must-have ingredient.

"Education is one the biggest keys to lowering recidivism in this state, preventing more victims when a person returns to the community,"said Covington.

Although the costs seem higher, it's impossible to put a price tag on saving another life.

Joey took a mans life, but he plans to make amends as best as he can by using his degree when he is released in 2020.

His degree is provided by a federally funded pilot program. Although inmate per day cost is high, the Department of Corrections said focusing on education and programs like Joey's, 3 to 5 years before he gets out will help stop that revolving door of incarceration.

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