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Prison healthcare costs stabilize

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.

 
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