Health research involving prisoners: Assessing stakeholders views on research priorities and ethical issues

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Project Funding
National Health and Medical Research Council
Project Description

The use of prisoners as research participants is contentious and complex.  Alcohol and other drug use, mental illness, and hepatitis C disproportionally affect prisoners, and are thus expected to be the preferred areas of research interest for prisoners. However, how prisoners see their involvement in such research in terms of risks and benefits medically, psychologically and socially within the prison setting and beyond remains unknown.  In recent years there has been increasing interest in using deliberative democracy to involve communities in decision-making about policy development and program delivery. Citizens Juries (CJ) are one such approach, having been used in various policy fields internationally, including in Australia. CJ involve bringing together a randomly selected group of citizens or a particular group of citizens,  providing them good information on the issues to hand and asking them, as community representatives, about their preferences for certain policy options or priorities for resource allocation.

 

Consultation and input from key affected communities identified in national health strategies are important for determining research priorities, processes and translation, that in turn maximise opportunities for improved health outcomes of those affected communities. This study seeks input from a key affected community rarely consulted with in terms of research priorities (those with lived experience of prison), in addition to key prison health service personnel and ethics committee members/experts. As such, the project will inform and help evaluate research portfolio content under the CRE in offender health in order to improve the health outcomes of prisoners.

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