Conducting ethical research with correctional populations: Do researchers and IRB members know the federal guidelines?

Conducting or overseeing research in correctional settings requires knowledge of specific federal rules and regulations designed to protect the rights of individuals in incarceration. To investigate the extent to which relevant groups possess this knowledge, using a 10-item questionnaire, we surveyed 885 IRB prisoner representatives, IRB members and chairs with and without experience reviewing HIV/AIDS correctional protocols, and researchers with and without correctional HIV/AIDS research experience. Across all groups, respondents answered 4.5 of the items correctly. Individuals who have overseen or conducted correctional research had the highest scores; however, even these groups responded correctly only to slightly more than half of the items. These findings emphasize the need for ongoing training in federal guidelines governing correctional research, particularly for those individuals who are embarking on this type of research.


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