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State: Health Care For 12,000 Released Offenders May Reduce Recidivism

State of Indiana

 The Indiana Department of Correction says it has reached a milestone by enrolling thousands of released offenders in HIP 2.0 and Medicaid.  

A state law that took effect last July required the department to work with offenders who are about to be released to ensure they have healthcare coverage through either the state or federal program. 
Ten months later, more than 12,000 such offenders have signed up.  
Only about 500 inmates released in that time weren’t enrolled. Department officials say that number includes non-residents, offenders who transferred to local jails, or those who previously had Medicaid coverage.  
Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council executive director David Powell says health care can have an enormous impact on reducing recidivism. 
He says ensuring coverage is particularly impactful when providing access to mental health care and addiction treatment.
"The data just shows it, that crime is driven by substance abuse and drugs, primarily,” he says.
The Department of Correction reports that since last July, nearly $4 million in Medicaid claims have been paid out.
If those patients hadn't been insured, the cost would have been borne by either the patients themselves or healthcare providers.  

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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