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NCCHC Press Release

Facing an Aging Inmate Population, Correctional Facilities Seek Solutions to Streamline Medication Management, Control Costs and Minimize Risk

Swisslog Healthcare addresses waste and operational inefficiencies in correctional facilities medication management processes through packaging and dispensing technology.

Broomfield, Colo. (October 7, 2019) – Meeting the medication needs of inmate populations in the United States is becoming increasingly more challenging.  Correctional facilities are faced with common population health management issues, including an aging populace and the rising cost of drugs, as well as challenges more unique to the correctional care setting, such as managing the legal rights of inmates, inadequate staffing and frequent patient movement that leads to expensive medication waste. To mitigate the financial and productivity impact of these challenges, correctional facilities are partnering with Swisslog Healthcare to deliver automated packaging and dispensing technology that saves valuable employee time, eliminates expensive waste and ensures accuracy in medication administration.


Approximately 11.6 million people move through U.S. corrections facilities every year. Of that population, 80% have chronic, untreated medical conditions and 68% have substance use disorders (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2003). The medication needs of this population are stretching the limits of today’s cash-strapped corrections facilities, which struggle to provide inmates with the level of care the law entitles them to.


According to a PEW article, “Aging Prison Populations Drive Up Costs”, prison populations are decreasing, but older inmate populations are growing. “From 1999 to 2016, the number of people 55 or older in state and federal prisons increased 280 percent.” These older inmates require more medications due to chronic medical conditions. Additionally, it stated that the Justice Department’s inspector general found that, “within the Federal Bureau of Prisons, institutions with the highest percentages of aging individuals spent five times more per inmate on medical care—and 14 times more per inmate on medication—than those with the lowest percentages.”


Higher medication utilization of an aging inmate population causes an increased medication cost for correctional facilities and it intensifies the existing issue of medication waste in corrections. Due to the transient nature of incarceration, such as inmates being transferred to other facilities, paroled or released, many prescriptions go unused. With traditional 30-day blister cards, the inmate’s remaining medications must be destroyed to ensure regulatory compliance. To minimize the impact of these challenges, correctional facilities are streamlining their medication management processes by packaging and dispensing medications on demand. Through automated systems, staff can track an inmate’s current location — even if they are off-site or at court. That means only the medications needed for a specific med call are dispensed and, in turn, reduces waste and saves money for the prison system.


“Historically, automation has been a ‘nice-to-have’ for correctional facilities,” says Mike Carmody, Vice President of Long-Term Care at Swisslog Healthcare. “Today, the added challenges of a higher acuity, aging population, coupled with volatile drug pricing, make automated medication packaging and dispensing technology a must-have to ensure accuracy and efficiency. At Swisslog Healthcare, we are seeing the largest growth in our corrections customer segment.”


A leading provider of in-facility packaging and dispensing systems, Swisslog Healthcare provides medication automation solutions to correctional facilities enabling them to simplify medication administration, provide down-to-the-dose accountability, reduce waste and decrease avoidable drug spend. Swisslog Healthcare’s InSite® In-Facility Medication Packaging and Dispensing System makes it easy to take back control of pharmacy inventory by packaging and dispensing medications on-demand.


Corrections professionals can see a demonstration of the InSite System in the Swisslog Healthcare booth at the National Commission on Correctional Health Care Conference on October 13-15 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.


For more information on Swisslog Healthcare or packaging and dispensing automation, visit



About Swisslog Healthcare


Swisslog Healthcare is a leading supplier of solutions and services for material transport and medication management. Swisslog Healthcare has installed facility-wide transport and pharmacy automation systems in more than 3,000 hospitals worldwide. The company offers integrated solutions from a single source – from consulting to design, implementation to lifetime customer service.


Swisslog Healthcare is a member of the KUKA Group, a leading global supplier of intelligent automation solutions.


Media Contact:

Amy Hinton

Solutions Manager – Pharmacy Automation


Phone: 303-229-3873