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Drug Costs, Age Rising For Iowa's Prisoners

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IOWA CITY, Iowa --The cost of prescription drugs in Iowa's prisons has increased by more than one million dollars over the past decade. Data from a state review of prison costs shows the state spent $4.1 million in prescription drugs for prisoners in 2003. Today that number has climbed to $5.4 million, according to Greg Ort, deputy warden at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center.

The 2003 review also indicated the state had seen a significant increase of $3.7 million dollars in prescription drug costs between 1993-2003.

Prison officials have also noted a shift in offender age for incoming prisoners.

"We are seeing older and more sick offenders coming into the prison," said Chris Gesie, nursing administrator at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center.

Ort said the age increase of new offenders correlates with the overall aging population of Iowa.

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