MACON, Ga. — Crime involving teenagers appears to be on the rise in Macon-Bibb County including violent crime.
The sheriff's office has a program aimed at keeping children on the right path.
It's called 'Consider the Consequences' and it's designed to show teens what happens after they commit a crime.
One Central High School student participated in the program when he was 12 years old. He says his mom told him he was getting a gift from the Sheriff.
"When I arrived, the officers just came out yelling and I figured out it wasn't too much of a good gift I was receiving," Ori Morgan said.
In 2019, Morgan's mom surprised him with a trip to the Bibb County Jail and be a part of the 'Consider the Consequences' class.
It's a once-a-month program aimed at stopping kids from hanging out with the wrong crowd.
Once your child is signed up, you drop your child off and the deputies will take them through a real-life scenario of the booking process.
Since 2015, the program has been teaching children about the consequences of getting involved in gangs, drugs, and guns. It's not as intense as the show 'Beyond Scared Straight' but it can be scary for teens who take part. They put on an inmate's jumpsuit and spend a day in jail.
Sheriff David Davis started the program back then, and leaned on Captain Ellis Sinclair to oversee the program. Sinclair says they want to help the youth before bad habits begin.
"Maybe if we can catch them at the early age between the ages of 10 to 16, then maybe by the time they're 17 years old, they will know what life is all about, and will not be doing some of the things that they find themselves getting caught up in at the early age," Sinclair says.
Sinclair says parents tell him how their child have shoplifted, stolen cars, and smoked weed. After the program, he says most kids have turned their lives around like Ori Morgan.
"I am an Eagle Scout currently and a minister in training at Grace Baptist Church," Morgan said.
Morgan says writing the note to leave the jail was the most interesting part of the program for him.
"I had to change perspectives and look at it as an inmate that needs help and I needed that help from my mother in order to leave," Morgan said.
The one-day program is happening Friday, February 24, 2023, and it starts at 7:30 am. It's for children ages 10 to 16 years old.
To sign up your child, you can call the Bibb County's Sheriff's Outreach office at 478-447-2326.