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Eye On Boise

Prisons propose cutting back on inmate disease testing to save money

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho corrections officials in a bid to save money are asking lawmakers to relax mandatory disease testing for inmates slated for release. The law now requires that inmates be tested for diseases like HIV and Chlamydia when they enter and exit the state's prison system. The Idaho Department of Correction officials made their case for legislation Wednesday to make the tests optional for offenders exiting the system. Agency Division Chief for Education, Treatment and Reentry Shane Evans told the Senate Judiciary and Rules committee the costs of staff time and supplies add up. He said the program costs the agency about $360,000 per year. The savings from making testing voluntary would be significant. Evans estimates testing just 5 percent of the 4,000 inmates released annually would cost $7,700.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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