Spokane Jail Weighs Cost, Safety Issues in Rx Drugs for Inmates


Spokane County, Wash., spent about $60,000 a month last year doling out prescription medicine to inmates at Geiger Corrections Center and the Spokane County Jail, reports the city’s Spokesman-Review. Ninety percent of the prescriptions were given to inmates before they reported to jail, so it might sound easy to cut that cost by allowing inmates to bring their medications with them. But it's not that easy, officials say.

Once someone is in custody, the county assumes liability for the safety of the inmate who's taking the prescription as well as fellow inmates who might look to buy drugs off that person. If the medicine is tainted, it could be dangerous for whoever ingests it and the liability risk for the jail soars. That's why Spokane County does not allow outside drugs inside the jail. Some inmates and their families question whether these costly security precautions end up preventing those who need medications right away from getting them.

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