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Resources :: Guide :: Vulnerable and risk sensitive participants :: Vulnerable participants :: Prisoners in research studies :: Prisoners unable to consent

Can a Prisoner Participate in My Study?

Prisoners can participate in the following studies:

  1. Study of causes, effects, and processes for incarceration. This can include the study of criminal behavior, but the study cannot be greater than minimal risk and can no more than inconvenience the participants.
  2. Study of the prison institution or the incarcerated person. This study cannot be greater than minimal risk and can no more than inconvenience the participants.
  3. Research on conditions particularly affecting prisoners as a class. This can include research on social and psychological problems that are common among prisoners (i.e. alcoholism, drug addiction, and sexual assaults).
  4. Research on practices that have the intent and probability to improve the health or well-being of the participants. Studies that require control groups (where the control group participants may not benefit from their participation) may be required to provide these benefits to the control group participants after the study is completed. 

Prisoners can only participate in the above studies.  If your study does not fit into one of the above categories, the IRB-SBS cannot approve recruiting prisoners to participate in your study.

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