Study: W.Va. inmate health costs rise 38 percent

CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia’s spending on prisoner health care increased 38 percent between 2001 and 2008.

According to a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the state’s spending went from $15.7 million to $21.7 million.

Many other states reported much sharper increases. For example, New Hampshire saw a 379 percent increase, from $5.4 million to $25.8 million. California had the highest cost, doubling to about $1.98 billion.

West Virginia’s spending ranked 36th out of 44 states included in the study.

Researchers identified three main reasons for the nationwide increase in prison health care costs: growing prison populations, aging prisoners and the overall rise in health care costs.

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