The Alabama prison system is trying to find a way to get out of paying retail for inmate hospital visits, reports the Montgomery Advertiser. State Finance Director Jim Main said the state could cut spending by $4 million or more a year by negotiating the price of inmate health care. The Department of Corrections spends $47 million this year for inmate health care plus overages that are a constant problem. The department wants to talk to the State Employees’ Insurance Board and Blue Cross Blue Shield about getting better rates from hospitals.
The state prison system is at double its capacity and continues to be a financial thorn in the state’s side. State prison population has been growing at more than 100 prisoners a month, on average. Gov. Bob Riley has formed a corrections task force to work on solutions to prison overcrowding and infrastructure problems such as kitchens running 20 hours a day, seven days a week to feed inmates.