Connecticut's correction commissioner has announced his department will begin testing and treating all inmates for hepatitis C.
The move comes after a federal judge gave class-action status to a lawsuit alleging the department has not done enough to screen and treat inmates.
The plaintiffs say they were denied sufficient treatment by prison medical staff, resulting in suffering while putting thousands of other prisoners at risk.
Similar federal lawsuits have been filed across the country.
A news release from the Department of Correction says testing for the presence of HCV antibodies will begin within the month and the goal is to test all offenders, but they will have the ability to opt-out of the test if they choose.
“I believe this new initiative will be an effective weapon in combatting the spread of hepatitis C, which is a byproduct of the opioid addiction crisis,” said Commissioner Rollin Cook said in a statement. “This is not just a Department of Correction problem, this is a public health problem, and we are more than willing and able to work towards fixing it.”
The Connecticut legislature's Office of Fiscal Analysis has estimated it could cost up to $158 million to diagnose and treat inmates with hepatitis C.