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State Prison Health Care Spending: An Examination

Accession Number: 028283
Media Type: 
Document
Series: 

"Under the landmark 1976 Estelle v. Gamble decision, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that prisoners have a constitutional right to adequate medical attention and concluded that the Eighth Amendment is violated when corrections officials display “deliberate indifference” to an inmate’s medical needs. The manner in which states manage prison health care services that meet these legal requirements affects not only inmates’ health, but also the public’s health and safety and taxpayers’ total corrections bill. Effectively treating inmates’ physical and mental illnesses, including substance use disorders, improves their well-being and can reduce the likelihood that they will commit new crimes or violate probation once released" (p. 1). Sections included in this report are: overview; spending trends; distribution of spending; spending drivers; cost-containment strategies; and conclusion. Also provided are the following report charts: Total Prison Health Care Spending Grew; Peaked in 34 States Before 2011; Components of Prison Health Care Spending; State and Federal Prisoners 55 and Older Increased by 204%; Share of Older Inmates in State Prisons Varied; Per-inmate Spending Higher in States with Older Inmate Populations. Correctional health care spending rose 13%. Due to the decrease in prison populations, per-inmate costs increased 10%. The statewide growth in the elderly inmate population caused those states with more senior inmates (per total inmate population) to have higher per-inmate costs.

State Prison Health Care Spending: An Examination cover