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Report: Prison health care costs stabilize

States are spending slightly less on prisoner health care after nearly a decade of steady increases, according to a report released Tuesday.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — States are spending slightly less on prisoner health care after nearly a decade of steady increases, according to a report released Tuesday.

The report from the Pew Charitable Trusts found that in most states, prison health-care spending peaked at $8.2 billion in 2009 after nearly a decade of dramatic increases. But by 2011 that total had dropped slightly to $7.7 billion, partly because prison populations decreased.

Pew project director Maria Schiff says how states manage prison health care affects inmate well-being, public safety and taxpayers' total corrections bill.

Schiff said the researchers identified four ways the states could further reduce costs, including Medicaid expansion, strategic use of telehealth services, effective management of private health-care contracts and appropriate use of medical or geriatric parole policies.

 

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