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Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Private Prison Facilities Health Care Program
Purchaser: Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Program: Private Prison Facilities Health Care Program

Description: The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) contracts with five private correctional corporations to incarcerate approximately 16,000 inmates. This is in addition to the 130,000 inmates housed in state-operated prisons. The corporations operate seven state prisons, six state jails and seven leased facilities.

Private facilities are responsible for providing medical care for inmates, including hospitalization up to 48 hours. The costs for medical care are figured into the capitation rate (cost per inmate, per day) the state pays the facility owner.

Should an inmate require more than 48 hours of hospitalization, the facility, upon notice to TDCJ, and the correctional health care program, is relieved of any additional financial liability. Further responsibility for that inmate’s care while in the hospital is then borne by the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) until the offender is returned to the private facility. Alternatively, the private facility is instructed to transfer the inmate (a paper transaction until the inmate is discharged from the hospital) to the care of a TDCJ facility or hospital, where UTMB or the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) picks up the cost as it would for any other TDCJ inmate.

Because TDCJ’s inmate diagnostic centers screen incoming inmates for health and other conditions, generally only the healthiest of inmates are incarcerated in private facilities and are unlikely to require much hospitalization over 48 hours. Those who are chronically or severely ill are kept in state-operated prisons.

Texas Total, Fiscal 1998
Amount Spent: $18,882,327  
  $43,600 estimated hospitalization costs paid by UTMB/TTUHSC
 $18,838,727 spent by private prison contractors

Source: Texas Department of Criminal Justice and private prison contractors