ethics, prison, prisoner, regulatory, research



  1. Brewer-Smyth, Kathleen PhD, RN, CRRN


Although numbers of prison inmates are increasing rapidly, limited research addresses health-related conditions prevalent in prisons. Compelling reasons exist for prison research to address high rates of psychiatric, neurological, and other health-related conditions that may precipitate or result from incarceration, high-risk behaviors, infectious disease transmission, traumatic brain injuries, and other issues related to incarceration. Prison research is critical because inmates are frequently re-incarcerated and released, posing potential risks to themselves and the community. The purpose of this article is to provide a pragmatic overview of ethical, regulatory, and investigator considerations to facilitate critically needed research with vulnerable prison populations.