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Medicine and the Criminal Justice System

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▸Address reprint requests to Vincent P. Dole, M.D., Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10021.

New York, New York

Ann Intern Med. 1974;81(5):687-689. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-81-5-687
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It is the duty of physicians to be aware of medical conditions in jails and of the effects of incarceration on prisoners. They owe this service to the community both as health professionals and as influential citizens. Failure to participate, as least in being informed and voting, leaves this field open to political demagoguery. The major medical organizations should be vigilant in evaluating and, when justified, supporting physicians working in this politically sensitive field of the criminal justice system. It is critically important that medical societies protect human rights and carefully evaluate any social experiments that purport to substitute medical treatment for criminal processes. We must see the implications of treating crime as a disease and accept the responsibility.





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