The state of Georgia is facing budget cuts at a time it's also caring for 47,000 prison inmates. As a result, the state is considering releasing sick prison inmates, particularly nonviolent offenders, to help cut down on costs.
All inmates who walk into the Lowndes County jail goes through a screening process to find out if they have an illness prior to them coming in. An $890,000 budget is set aside for the medical services, and additional $100,000 for out-source expenses. Unlike the state, the county does not have the option to release sick inmates to lower costs.
The jail has a three-year contract with a private medical company that provides the staff and relieves the county of any liabilities. That way if anything happens, the company's insurance covers the cost, which is less of a burden to the taxpayers.
The medical department takes up ten percent of the Lowndes County jail's $11 million budget.