OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is seeking increased funding from lawmakers to treat prisoners with liver viruses.
The Journal Record reports the department estimates more than 3,000 of the state’s inmates have hepatitis C, a virus that’s dispersed among people through blood contact.
Department spokesman Matt Elliott said inmates receive treatment for their symptoms under the current funding levels but few are getting the direct antiviral medication they need.
Elliott said the antiviral medication treatment is expected to cost nearly $92 million.
A 2015 study by Yale University estimated that about one-third of people who have hepatitis C pass through the corrections system each year.
Oklahoma lawmakers are projected to have about $612 million in new revenue to appropriate to state agencies during the legislative session that begins February 4.