Prison officials aim to ax required disease tests

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho corrections officials in a bid to save money are asking lawmakers to relax mandatory disease testing for inmates slated for release.

The law now requires that inmates be tested for diseases like HIV and Chlamydia when they enter and exit the state's prison system. The Idaho Department of Correction officials made their case for legislation Wednesday to make the tests optional for offenders exiting the system.

Agency Division Chief for Education, Treatment and Reentry Shane Evans told the Senate Judiciary and Rules committee the costs of staff time and supplies add up. He said the program costs the agency about $360,000 per year.

The savings from making testing voluntary would be significant. Evans estimates testing just 5 percent of the 4,000 inmates released annually would cost $7,700.

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