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December 2000

Acres of Skin: The Underlying Problem

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(12):1567-1568. doi:

The correspondence letter in the February 2000 issue of the Archives of Dermatology1 titled "Ethical Accusations: The Loss of Common Sense" made a lot of sense, and points out that my previous correspondence2 did not properly express what I had intended. I wanted to help us focus on an underlying problem in our society using the isssues raised in the book Acres of Skin.3 The underlying problem is that many people in our country feel that one segment of our population is expendable, so they feel it is reasonable to spend more money on prison construction to house this "expendable" segment of the population, and less and less money on housing outside prisons, education, health, and creation of living-wage jobs. As of February 15, 2000, the prison population in our nation reached 2 million.4 The United States at that time had 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners; half of these inmates were in jail for nonviolent offenses.

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