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Injustice can lead to treatment

Vol. 9, No. 3 / March 2010

In his editorial “New Year’s resolutions to help our patients” (From the Editor, Current Psychiatry, January 2010) Dr. Nasrallah decried criminalization of mentally ill individuals, which I agree, but I find that I can provide better treatment in the medium-security prison where I work part-time than in our community mental health clinic, which has been downsized. At the prison, we have a multidisciplinary staff, including primary care physicians. Patients keep their appointments and medication intake is monitored. We have enough time to see patients and adequate reimbursement for services. In fact, some patients do not want to leave because in prison they have a roof over their heads, adequate food, and competent health care.

Prisons are the only place in this country where people have the right to treatment. If only health care reform could replicate this outside of prison.

H. Steven Moffic, MD
Professor of psychiatry
Medical College of Wisconsin
Milwaukee, WI

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