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December 30, 1905


JAMA. 1905;XLV(27):2018. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.02510270024009

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From state after state there come complaints of the insanitary conditions of penitentiaries. Great efforts have been made to rectify these ill conditions, but governments proverbially move slowly. In the meantime, those who are segregated from society in order to limit their anti-social proclivities are in reality frequently condemned to death by tuberculosis. Some prisons are reported to be veritable hot-beds of this disease. The expense of meeting this state of affairs appears almost insurmountable when viewed in the light of the usual public inertia in regard to reforms. Meanwhile an increasing number of keen students of these problems turn to a proposal that seems revolutionary and that presents some practical difficulties of execution, but which nevertheless appeals strongly to the humane instincts and the scientific knowledge of physicians. This proposition is that "imprisonment at hard labor" shall be corrected to "compulsory farm labor" and perhaps to roadmaking. Farm work

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