In an effort to reduce costs, Connecticut’s state legislators have granted Corrections Commissioner Leo Arnone permission to release severely ill or incapacitated inmates to nursing home care beginning early next year, according to an article in The Republic. While many were concerned about this action, it was explained that the facility would only be used to care for forensics patients from the state’s Departments of Corrections, Social Services, Mental Health and Addiction Services and Public Health.
The cost of care will be about $50,000 annually per resident with an expected 50 percent reimbursement for services, according to the news report. The state currently pays for this type of care in its prison infirmaries because Medicaid excludes people who are incarcerated.
Brian Garnett, department spokesman, explained in the news report that these inmates do not present a danger to the public. They are people in comas, paraplegics and with dementia. In the article, he says, “We have a person without any hands and any feet because of diabetes, who is taking up an extremely expensive prison bed and could perhaps be better handled in a nursing home environment.”
Garnett adds that there are about three dozen inmates in the system that would qualify for nursing home care. Those inmates on death row and serving life without parole would not qualify.
Maureen Price-Boreland is the executive director of Community Partners in Action, an agency that provides assistance to prisoners. She agrees with the move, saying, “In many cases prison may not be the appropriate setting for these people, and the prisons are not properly equipped to provide the care that they require.”