. "2 Today's Prisoners: Changing Demographics, Health Issues, and the Current Research Environment." Ethical Considerations for Research Involving Prisoners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2007.
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Ethical Considerations for Research Involving Prisoners
control of the state and placing it under the control of a trustee appointed by the court.1 In addition, the entire state prison mental health system is being monitored by another federal court after being found to be providing constitutionally inadequate mental health services to inmates with serious mental illnesses (Coleman v. Wilson, 912 F.Supp. 1282 [E.D.Cal 1995]). And New York regulators have faulted the private firm Prison Health Services in several deaths within the state’s prison system (Von Zielbauer, 2005d). This follows by 30 years the case of Estelle v. Gamble, in which the U.S. Supreme Court articulated a constitutionally protected right to health care in prisons and jails (U.S. Supreme Court, 1976).
The committee’s review of current research indicated that the majority of research involving prisoners is happening outside the purview of Subpart C, and many prisoner studies are being conducted without review or approval by an institutional review board (IRB). Prison research committees that may serve some type of proxy IRB role only infrequently include prisoners or prisoner representatives among their membership. All of these factors point to a population of prisoners who may be more vulnerable and require stronger protections than those inspired by the commission in the 1970s.
CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS AND HEALTH ISSUES
Descriptions of Prisons, Jails, and Other Correctional Settings
Within the United States, correctional settings, which constrain liberty, entail more than prisons. Local jails, usually county or city facilities, house prisoners from arraignment through conviction and for sentences usually no longer than one year. State and federal prisons incarcerate those sentenced for longer periods. About 6 percent, or close to 99,000 prisoners, are held in privately operated facilities that incarcerate the state and federal overflow (BJS, 2005a,c). In six states, all in the West, at least one-quarter of all persons in prisons are in private facilities (BJS, 2005a). Several other alternatives to prisons and jails that constrain liberty, including restitution centers, camps, treatment facilities, and electronic monitoring programs, are listed in Table 4-1 (see Chapter 4); specific options within the state of California are provided in Table 4-2 (see Chapter 4). Parole and probation are two other settings in which individuals have restricted liberties by virtue of involvement in the criminal justice system. Parole is used for offenders
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law Re Appointment of Receiver, Marciano Plata, et al. vs. Arnold Schwarzenegger,et al., October 3, 2005, page 2.