17th November 2017
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March 20th, 2017 Cat: Bisnis Online

Many people often confuse prison inmates and jail inmates, referring to them interchangeably. In fact, prison and jail may be similar, but there’s a difference between them. Jails are run locally and prisons are run by the state, and while both have to do with incarcerating people, the circumstances for prison are generally more serious than those for jail. People in jail are awaiting trial or they’re being held for misdemeanors, or less serious crimes. Misdemeanors may include petty theft, drug possession, DUI, vandalism and simple assault. A jail sentence for a misdemeanor is usually a year or less. While jailed, jail inmates lose privileges like their jobs and licenses. On the other hand, prison is for people who have committed more serious crimes like murder. Incarceration in prison can also refer to prisoners of war or psychiatric patients, and it lasts a much longer time than a jail sentence does.

Being jailed or imprisoned obviously results in losing some rights, but the rights of prison inmates have been part of the controversy over ethics in scientific research. In the past, prison inmates were used as subjects in experiments that could be seen as cruel and unusual punishment. For example, the Nazis used prisoners in a variety of studies intended to test treatments. To carry out the experiments, prisoners were exposed to diseases like malaria, typhoid fever, tuberculosis and hepatitis. They were also frozen and gassed to see whether antidotes and cures were effective. Obviously, these studies were carried out without the subjects’ consent and as for the US, hundreds of prison inmates were exposed to harmful chemicals and substances like radioactive isotopes by Albert Kligman while being told that the chemicals were harmless.

Many have called for the end of these clinical trials because they violate the rights of prisoners, and today there are ethical rules in place to govern scientific research—researchers aren’t allowed to experiment on participants without their consent. However, others might see this as detrimental to scientific progress. Why shouldn’t prisoners be used in studies? It’s the perfect opportunity, since prison inmates should pay for the wrongs they committed and it’s better to test on criminals than people who don’t break the law. But to treat all people as equal includes criminals as well as law abiding citizens, so conducting such research on prison inmates remains prohibited due to its unethical nature. And science may suffer, but so may humanity if we put knowledge over dignity.

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