For Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, an ounce of crime prevention is worth a pound of cure.
That was his message Thursday at First Baptist Church in Columbus — one of his seven stops in his afternoon-long tour of the Friendly City.
This next year, Hood plans to press the legislature to be “smarter” with taxpayers” dollars and spend on preventative crime-fighting measures, he told the group of business owners involved in local prison ministries.
“Prevention,” he emphasized,” is the cheapest bang for our buck.”
That means using more halfway and rehabilitation houses — like those found in Lowndes County — and reaching out to children of inmates, many of whom will follow in their parent”s footsteps. It also means using house arrest more.
“If you don”t care about the people, at least care about your pocketbook,” he said.
Even though prison ministries can save taxpayer”s money, they can also help save souls, he told the group.
“That”s what scares me,” he said of some death row inmates. “That they get executed and go straight to hell.”
“Some people are just truly evil,” he continued, “but most you try to minister to, which y”all here are doing a fine job of,” he said.
Hood encouraged Lowndes County to look into joining a program to help children stay out of prison. Three counties in the Jackson area are currently involved, he said.
Besides mentoring children, Hood said he may resurrect an old video of what prison is like for online distribution to “scare kids straight.”
“Some psychologists will tell you that it doesn”t work on kids, but it worked on me,” he said.