Dora M. Dumont, PhD, MPH; Scott A. Allen, MD; Josiah D. Rich, MD, MPH
Grant Support: Dr. Rich was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA K24 DA022112), and the Centers for AIDS Research, National Institutes of Health (P30AI042853).
Disclosures: Disclosures can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M14-0080.
Requests for Single Reprints: Dora M. Dumont, PhD, MPH, Rhode Island Department of Health, 3 Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Author Addresses: Dr. Dumont: Rhode Island Department of Health, 3 Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908.
Dr. Allen: University of California, Riverside, School of Medicine, 900 University Avenue, Riverside, CA 92521.
Dr. Rich: The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, The Miriam Hospital, 164 Summit Avenue, Providence, RI 02906.
Author Contributions: Conception and design: D.M. Dumont, J.D. Rich.
Drafting of the article: D.M. Dumont.
Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: S.A. Allen, J.D. Rich.
Final approval of the article: D.M. Dumont, S.A. Allen, J.D. Rich.
Dumont D., Allen S., Rich J.; Sesame Street Goes to Jail: Physicians Should Follow. Ann Intern Med. 2014;161:522-523. doi: 10.7326/M14-0080
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(7):522-523.
In 2013, Sesame Street introduced a new character with 2 defining features: a shock of blue hair and an incarcerated father. This Muppet is another sign of the growing public awareness of the collateral damage of incarceration for the families of prisoners, which are concentrated in disadvantaged communities. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, but we should not conclude from this that it has the highest rate of criminality. Without a doubt, many persons need to be imprisoned to protect public safety. However, the actions resulting in incarceration surprisingly often stem from untreated mental illness or addiction. In such cases, incarceration will improve neither the imprisoned person nor the social problem without medical intervention.
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