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Challenges and Strategies for Research in Prisons

Authors

  • Zoltán L. Apa B.A.,

    Corresponding author
    • School of Nursing, Columbia University, New York, New York
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  • RuoYu Bai B.S., B.A., M.P.H.,

    1. School of Nursing, Columbia University, New York, New York
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  • Dhritiman V. Mukherejee M.S., Ph.D.,

    1. School of Nursing, Columbia University, New York, New York
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York
    3. Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York
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  • Carolyn T. A. Herzig M.S.,

    1. School of Nursing, Columbia University, New York, New York
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York
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  • Carl Koenigsmann M.D.,

    1. New York State Department of Corrections, Albany, New York
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  • Franklin D. Lowy M.D.,

    1. Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York
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  • Elaine L. Larson R.N., Ph.D., F.A.A.N., C.I.C.

    1. School of Nursing, Columbia University, New York, New York
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York
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Correspondence to:

Zoltán Ludovic Apa, School of Nursing, Columbia University, 617 W 168 St. Room: 331, New York, NY 10032. E-mail: za2149@columbia.edu

Abstract

In this article, we discuss some of the challenges encountered while conducting research in two maximum security prisons and approaches we found helpful to facilitate the research process through the development of collaborative relationships, the establishment of prison contacts, and the implementation of rigorous research methods. As a result of our experiences, we have been successful at maintaining a high rate of inmate participation (>80%) and a well-functioning multidisciplinary team. The approaches described may be useful to other investigators planning to conduct research in a challenging setting such as prisons.

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