Inmate Healthcare: Taxpayers Footing the High Costs

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Commit a crime in Madison County, and you find yourself in the Madison County Detention Center.

Quarters are cramped, but if you're serving out a misdemeanor sentence or waiting for your trial, you get a few perks. They keep you healthy.

The Detention Center's Chief Deputy Steve Morrison says, "We're required constitutionally to provide medical care while they're in jail."

Morrison tells us some inmates have medications that cost $5,400 in taxes a month.  It adds up fast.

According to Morrison, "The budget for medical care in the facility is around $3 million a year."

Some people really get the most out of their all-expense paid stay.

"It cost us $186,000 at one time to put a pacemaker in a gentleman here," Morrison tells us.

That's just one inmate.  At any given time, they've usually got about 949 more of them.  Plus, it's your hard-earned money that keeps them going.

Find out what's driving the problem in this Taking Action Investigation.

Because Morrison says, "Things are only going to get worse."

This WHNT News 19 Taking Action Investigation airs tonight (Thursday, November 7) at 10 p.m.


  • Terri W

    They get free health care while the rest us of hard-working citizens are so taxed that we can’t afford to go to the doctor or dentist.

  • Ken Burcham

    This is the biggest load of malarkey shoveled by your channel in quite some time. Your sources are idiots and the reporting is shameful. Understand one thing in Alabama: no money to pay on their care expenses in the inmates account, NO care given! The prisoners pay for medicines ($2 for an aspirin for example) and must endure many constraints conveniently omitted in this sham of a report. Get informed OR get off the air.

  • This_gal

    Maybe you should get informed Dear Sir, I have seen many of inmates go in with rotted teeth and horrible vision and come out with new glasses and their rotted aching teeth are pulled from their gums. How do you explain that?! Who paid for that? Not the inmates, promise you, they couldn’t afford it!

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