HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's correction commissioner has announced his department will begin testing and treating all inmates for hepatitis C.

The decision was announced in a memo from Commissioner Rollin Cook to Correction Department staff on Aug. 7 and confirmed by the department on Wednesday.

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.

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.

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