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Inmate Healthcare Policy Adopted by Quorum Court

BY LEANN DILBECK –

An ordinance to implement an inmate health care policy at the Polk County Detention Center was proposed during Tuesday night’s meeting.  The new ordinance will allow the County to impose a $3 fee for personal hygiene items furnished to them at book-in.  A $20 co-pay fee will also be imposed for any prisoner initiated medical services, which will include but not be limited to seeing a doctor, nurse, dentist, etc. The ordinance also includes a $3 co-pay fee for each medication prescribed to the prisoner upon initiation of the purchase or refill of those medications.

Commissary accounts will be established for each prisoner where such fees will be deducted when the prisoner is initially processed into the detention center or anytime any prisoner initiated health care service is requested.

Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer explained that prisoners who lack sufficient funds in their commissary account will not be denied access to health/dental/prescription care, but the prisoner will have an outstanding balance in their account so if at any time the prisoner returns to the Polk County Detention Center, such debt will be deducted from any monies placed into his/her commissary account.

Revenues received from these newly imposed fees will be used to offset or reduce funding from other sources for the maintenance, operation, and capital expenditures of the Polk County Detention Center.

When asked about the prisoner’s ability to pay, Sawyer explained that they have many prisoners who are currently spending $150 to $200 a month on phone cards purchased through the Sheriff’s Department. He added that they are now selling e-cigs and that the department was profiting $600- $800 a month on those purchases.

The ordinance passed unanimously.

Also during the meeting, David Williams was confirmed by the Quorum Court to serve on the administrative board of the Polk County Library to fill the expired term of Jean Smith.  Williams will serve a 5-year term.

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