Published on August 18, 2012 at 4:48 AM
Prison populations have particularly high rates of mental illness and substance abuse problems - factors that may influence their ability to provide consent. They are also more economically disadvantaged - in which case, monetary incentives may act as undue influence for them to participate in research and affect the voluntary nature of the consent process. Thus, the onus is on researchers and research ethics boards to develop "appropriate" use of incentives, said Dr. Matheson.
But many practical questions arise.
For example, what is the appropriate monetary value of research incentives for offenders who are living under supervision? Dr. Matheson suggests using the standard prison wage or minimum wage of the province or territory. Setting the monetary value in this way would establish a national standardized approach to equitable incentive practices.
She said policies that define appropriate incentives are vital to ensure effective and equitable engagement between researchers and the offender population. A national policy would ensure equitable treatment of offenders across all correctional jurisdictions.
Source: St. Michael's Hospital