Research with Prisoners
A sociologist wants to study a culture that occurs in some women’s prisons: “state families,” in which individual prisoners take on certain roles within a group of like-minded prisoners. There is previous evidence that younger prisoners will use older inmates who play the roles of grandparents as a resource before they will turn to staff for help and advice. The lieutenant in charge of a dorm of long-term prisoners offers to gather volunteers to speak to the researcher and also offers to vouch for the integrity of the researcher. The use of this staff is:
Wrong and is prohibited; subject selection needs to be free from intervention by prison authorities or prisoners.
Neither Subpart C (Prisoners) nor Subpart D (Children) applies to juveniles in the correctional systems since Wardens of Juvenile prisoners – unlike those for adult prisoners – act in loco parentis for juvenile offenders. This statement is false because:
Both subparts apply since these individuals are under the legal age of consent and are incarcerated
A researcher is studying women
recently admitted to a state prison. All potential subjects must have children under the age of five. Research subjects will be given a basket of toys to use at their children’s first visit that the children can then take home. In assessing this proposal, the IRB needs to determine that the toys are:
Not an excessive incentive.
A researcher is examining the quality of life for prisoners who are HIV positive using surveys followed by interview. The IRB must ensure that:
Confidentiality of the prisoners’ health status is maintained.
Which of the following statements about prison research is true?
Researchers may study the effects of privilege upgrades awarded by the prison.
A researcher’s study uses a dataset of prisoner demographic characteristics. This dataset includes criminal history data that predates incarceration and includes data on disciplinary behavior while in prison. There is no interaction with prisoners. The researcher claims and the IRB chair agrees that the study is exempt from IRB review. This decision:
Is wrong. 45 CFR 46.101(b) states that research conducted in prisons may not be exempt.
A researcher wants to contact former prisoners who are now on parole. She wants to study the difficulty of getting employment based on whether the subjects had been convicted of felony versus misdemeanor crimes. She needs to:
Do nothing in regards the Subpart C since the research does not meet the criteria for prison research: individuals on parole are not considered prisoners. The definition applies to both minors and adults.
One of your subjects is half way through a study of an investigational antidepressant that is injected weekly. The drug requires a taper-down regimen, that is, it should NOT be stopped abruptly. You learn that the subject will be admitted to prison next week prior to the next scheduled injection. What is the appropriate response for the researcher?
The researcher should contact prison authorities of the medical issue , and report the events to the IRB of record.