Human Experimentation

1684 Words Jul 24th, 2014 7 Pages
TOPIC #4: Human Experimentation
PRO: Prisoners should be allowed to participate in human research
CON: Prisoners should not be allowed to participate in human research

History and definitions Dating back to 1965, seventy-five prisoners at Holmesburg prison in Pennsylvania were purposely exposed to a poisonous agent. This study was conducted to determine the effects of dioxin, a potentially harmful substance. Dermatologist Dr. Albert Kligman, exposed prisoners to a dosage 468 times greater than the required dosage for the experiment. All evidence has been destroyed; however, participants are still experiencing dermatologic issues. As a result of research and experiments like these conducted in prisons, the Department of Health,
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(p. 11) Prisoners have a constitutional right to exercise their autonomous choice to participate in such trials. Although autonomy is limited due to incarceration, it should be expressed if the opportunity is presented. Going beyond constitutional rights, the contemporary code of decency suggests that if there is a chance that prisoners with life threatening diseases, can be alleviated of pain or have death delayed through therapeutic treatment, than decency should be upheld (Pacquerella, 2002). Because of research done in the past, where ethical questions arose, there are rules and guidelines in place to prevent the abuse of prisoners. Advocates say that, in certain instances where the risks for general participants are equivalent to those of prisoner participants, and the risks were approved and accepted by general participants then prisoners should not be restricted in order to protect them from abuse (Pacquerella, 2002).
Prisoners should not be allowed to participate in human research argument. Generally, research participants are offered incentives as compensation for their time. In a correctional facility incentives may include, cash, more suitable living quarters and a reduced sentence. The American Medical Association (AMA) claims that such
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