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April 1, 1974

Man Bites Dog

JAMA. 1974;228(1):77-78. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230260051031

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The American Medical News, a publication of the American Medical Association (AMA), carried in its Dec 24, 1973, issue the information that the AMA had established a Committee to Improve Medical Care in the Nation's Correctional Institutions. The members include physicians, correctional facility experts, lawyers, and a psychiatrist, among others. The need for such action is evident: more than half of these institutions lack any medical facilities.

Recently, in a Midwest penitentiary, a unique attempt to improve the lot of ill prisoners was undertaken. A group of inmates with diabetes mellitus and a disgruntled view of their medical care took things into their own hands, not with strikes, kidnapped guards, or riots, but with recourse to law. In a class action brought under the Civil Rights Act, and with the aid of civic-minded attorneys of private firms and of a Prison Legal Services Project, a suit was filed in a