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Little is known about the efficiency of health care in correction settings. This article reports an efficiency analysis of health care in state correctional institutions (SCIs) in a single, mid-Atlantic state from 2003 to 2006. A two-stage data envelopment analysis was used to estimate the technical efficiency of prison health care and determine inmate and institutional characteristics that were associated with efficiency. Our output variable was the number of infirmary inpatient days for each year of study. The input variable for the first stage was the sum of personnel medical staff costs and other medical operating costs. SCIs with more white prisoners, older prisoners, and higher proportions of inmates with parole violations were significantly less efficient in their provision of health care than other SCIs. There were no SCI characteristics that were predictive of efficiency. These results suggest that healthcare efficiency in corrections may decline as the prison population continues to age.
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