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July 9, 2014

Study shows Okla. bucking prison health care trend

OKLAHOMA CITY — While the vast majority of states in the U.S. have seen prison health care costs climb sharply in recent years, a new national study shows Oklahoma is one of the few states bucking that trend.

A report on state spending on prison health care released Tuesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows Oklahoma is among ten states where the per-inmate spending declined from 2007 to 2011. Oklahoma had the lowest per-inmate cost in the country in 2011 at $2,558, a decline of 17 percent from $3,071 per inmate in 207 spending.

Even though — like many states — Oklahoma’s prison population is getting older, state prison officials say they have implemented several recommendations to drive down health care costs, including the increased use of telemedicine and medical paroles.

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