Haywood Sheriff: Are people committing crimes to get free medical in prison?
(Smoky Mountain News) A rash of medical complications hit inmates in the Haywood County jail over the past year, socking the county with a $100,000 cost overrun. Blame lies in part with a handful of big ticket procedures — a major stroke, heart bypass surgery, a heart catheterization following a heart attack for another. But there was also a run on more minor hospitalizations. “For the first nine months this year we had 60 people admitted to the hospital that were inmates,” said Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher. Haywood’s jail had a streak of bad luck, but medical costs for inmates have been trending upwards year after year. “We only seem to bring in people who are very, very unhealthy. There’s very few marathon runners or people who are in good shape when they come to the jail,” said Christopher. The jail population has its share of drug addicts, alcoholics and smokers. They are more likely to have bad teeth and poor nutrition. And these hallmarks of an unhealthy lifestyle add up to more medical issues. Christopher can’t help but wonder. “Some people might commit a crime to go to jail just so we’ll be there to fix the problem,” the sheriff said.
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