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NCJ Number: 221693 Find in a Library
Title: Protecting Prisoners From Harmful Research: Is "Being Heard" Enough?
Journal: Journal of Offender Rehabilitation  Volume:45  Issue:1/2  Dated:2007  Pages:33-46
Author(s): Alan Mobley; Stuart Henry; Dena Plemmons
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 14
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper briefly outlines the existing state of the Institutional Review Board’s (IRB) protections for prisoners selected for research, and focuses on the effectiveness of prisoner representatives in this process.
Abstract: Improving the conditions under which incarcerated populations give “informed consent” is a desirable goal given prisoners’ lack of autonomy; part of the Institutional Review Board’s (IRB) procedures is inclusion of representative voices from the prisoner population as a mechanism to reduce harms. The most recent review of the ethics of research on prisoners by the Institute of Medicine recommends an expanded role for prisoner involvement, outlining a collaborative research approach involving prisoners as active participants in all aspects of the research, including design, planning, and implementation, not just at the IRB stage. This paper briefly outlines the existing state of IRB protections for prisoners selected for research, and focuses on the effectiveness of prisoner representatives in this process. It is suggested that there are weaknesses within the existing system such that representation may provide little more than ideological legitimation for the process. It is also argued that while the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations mark a major improvement in protection in prisoner representation, it does not go far enough in articulating the process whereby the voices of prisoners, their advocates or their representatives are included in the different stages of the process. The overall question is whether “being heard” is enough? Future research is suggested to more extensively map the scope of this issue and raise some critical questions in order to improve the effectiveness of the ethical considerations for research on prisoners, as well as the IRB process and any post-IRB oversight. References
Main Term(s): Inmates as research subjects
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Correctional reform; Human research subject protection; Inmate attitudes; Prisoner's rights; Waiver of rights
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