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Review of Inmate Health Services Within the Department of Corrections

NCJ Number
Date Published
12 pages
This review of inmate health services in Florida indicates that inmate health care costs have increased rapidly in recent years due to prison health system reforms and the increasing inmate population and notes that inmates frequently access health services for secondary gains such as avoiding work.
Factors such as grievance procedures and reviews of inmate health care create an environment that makes it easier to provide requested health services than to deny them. As a result, inmates use health services more than private citizens. Nonetheless, inmate health care costs have risen at a slower rate than overall medical inflation and are comparable to those for private citizens. Florida's Department of Corrections has initiated several cost containment efforts that have saved about $16 million annually. Initiatives proposed by the Department of Corrections, combined with additional departmental actions, can further reduce inmate health care costs by at least $4.9 million annually. The review identifies various strategies that can be implemented to contain correctional health service costs: consolidate health services; privatize on a regional basis; improve data for effective health care cost containment; review health service guidelines; reduce secondary gains available to inmates; and streamline health services. An appendix lists advantages and disadvantages of various inmate health care policy options. 4 exhibits