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Research Committee drives Generation of New Knowledge

(An article published in Corrections@WORK, Summer 2016/17, page 23)

Research subjects in the past often involved the most vulnerable groups among humans, such as orphans, the mentally disturbed, the mentally disabled and inmates. The chairperson of the DCS Research Ethics Committee, Dr Sibusiwe Bengu mentioned that there is historical proof that abuse of inmates for research purposes s conducted in many parts of the world. In South Africa, however, inmates, like other vulnerable groups are protected by regulations of the National Health Research Ethics Committee, whose functions are overseen by the National Department of Health. Read more ... [1]

Conducting Research Studies in Corrections

As discussed, offenders are classified as a vulnerable population when considered as research participants, and any study that is conducted within the corrections environment needs to abide by strict ethical guidelines and apply for ethical clearance. This means that besides receiving ethical clearance from the study's affiliated institution, permission needs to be requested from the Department of Corrections (DCS) Research Ethics Committee (REC) as well. Application requests will only be considered by the DCS REC after the study has been approved by the affiliated institution's REC. There are certain forms that need to be completed and documents that must be submitted when applying to conduct research within the DCS. More information on the processes involved, and important dates to be aware of, can be found on the DCS website[2].