You Paid For It – Missouri’s costly prison problem

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – The You Paid For It team is investigates the high cost of incarceration.

Reporter Elliott Davis went behind bars at two Missouri state prisons and talked to inmates. Nearly 16,000 offenders are in state prison for nonviolent offenses.

Taxpayers spend $20,000 per year to house each offender, costing the State of Missouri some $332 million. That's just under half the total budget for the state department of corrections.

Head of the Department of Corrections, George Lombardi, is worried about the spiraling costs. He told You Paid For It that it won't be long before the yearly cost of incarcerating the state’s 32,000 inmates soars to $800 million. At present, it sits at $710 million.

Lombardi discussed with Elliott just some of the steps he says should be considered to bring down the inmate population and ultimately reduce the high cost for taxpayers.