In looking at records on deaths in state prisons last year for our post about the homicides, we couldn't help but notice the large number of Hepatitis-C-related deaths among prisoners.
Arizona Department of Corrections records show 75 natural-cause deaths, three suicides, two homicides and fourteen "pending" cases of 2008 prisoner deaths.
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Of the deaths due to natural causes, 17 showed that Hepatitis-C complications were either the reason for death or a major factor. That calculates to a eyebrow-raising 23 percent.
Believe it or not, though, that figure isn't too high when compared with national rates of Hep-C among prisoners: Between 12 and 31 percent of U.S. prisoners are believed to be infected, according to an October article in sciencedaily.com.
There are so many cases of the liver-destroying disease, apparently, because prisoners love to shoot drugs -- and have access to the drugs and needles.