While an odd thought to present, ever since the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) implemented the TRULINCS computer system — and followed it with the MP3 player program — the FBOP has appeared to be on the right track in terms of communicating with the federal inmate population. This idea has presented itself through more frequent announcements to the prison population (via the TRULINCS Electronic Bulletin Board), inmate institutional perception/character surveys, and now the instant Inmate Perception of Care Survey.

It’s the latter which will be presented publicly today.

In an effort to make federal incarceration more transparent, the Prison Law Blog has obtained a document entitled “Note to the Inmate Population: English and Spanish Informed Consent.” This document explains what the Inmate Perception of Care Survey is, how it can be participated in, and other components of this study. The English information contained therein is presented below for the Prison Law Blog readership’s perusal:

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Notice to the Inmate Population

English and Spanish Informed Consent

The Annual Inmate Perception of Care Survey will be available by region and you will receive local notice when the survey will be turned on for your institution. Please read over the following disclosure statement and consider taking the survey when it becomes available.

NCR [North Central Region] and NER [North East Region] August 19-September 1, 2013

MXR [Mid-Atlantic Region] and SCR [South Central Region] September 2-15, 2013

SER [South East Region] and WXR [Western Region] September 16-29, 2013

What is this study about and why is it being done?

This survey is being provided to all inmates in Bureau of Prisons operated facilities. Your answers will be used to help us improve the quality of health care in our institutions. Please answer all of the following questions related to visits to the health services department, or other interactions you have had with the health services staff at this institution. The information you provide will be used in research that may be published.

What are you asking me to do if I agree to be in the study?

If you agree to be in the study, you will be asked to complete a 22 question survey which should take less than 15 minutes.

How will this study help me? Why should I be in the study?

You will receive no direct benefits from being in this study; however, the information you provide may help improve the overall quality of health care in the Bureau of Prisons.

Are there any risks, or can I get hurt by being in the study?

We do not know of any risks or discomforts due to being in this study. However, you may feel tired toward the end of the session. Also, you may feel embarrassed when answering some of the questions. Personal information could also be revealed if we are required by law to reveal it — most likely, this will not happen.

What steps are you taking to reduce these risks of discomfort?

You may take a break at any time you feel tired. You may decide to not respond to any questions you find disturbing. We will do everything we can to protect the confidentiality of your personal information. You will be given a study ID number. This number will be used on your surveys and other research papers instead of your name or register number. We will not include personal information about you in any report or paper.

What else do I need to know?

~Your decision whether or not to be in this study is voluntary.

~You may refuse to be in this study at any time and you will not be penalized.

~Your decision either way will not affect your release date or parole eligibility.

~Your decision, either way, will not affect any [of] the health care you personally receive.

~You may stop the survey at any time.

~We must report the following

1) If you seem suicidal,

2) If you say you want to hurt yourself or someone else,

3) If you tell me you plan to commit a crime in the future, or

4) If you admit to unreported crimes committed while in federal prisons.

Whom can I contact with questions or concerns?

If you have questions about this study, please contact Tushar Patel, Chief, Office of Quality Management, 320 First Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20534. If you have concerns about the study, please contact the Chief Psychologist at your institution and contact the Institutional Review Board at 320 First Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20534.

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Note:

As always, the Prison Law Blog will continue to report on such occurrences within the Federal Bureau of Prisons and state departments of corrections as they become known to the Prison Law Blog. The Prison Law Blog’s current opinion concerning the study at hand is that federal prisoners should take the time to answer the 22 questions contained in the study/survey, but to be cautious about disclosing personal information or admitting to any crime committed or disciplinary code violation committed while in Federal Bureau of Prisons’ custody. Outside of this, this study really only has the potential of helping the federal inmate population.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this study or others, please feel free to contact the Prison Law Blog. You can do so by commenting on this post or sending an email through the Contact Us page. As always, the Prison Law Blog is here to serve and never charge a fee for our time or assistance.

About Christopher Zoukis, MBA

Christopher Zoukis, MBA, is the Managing Director of the Zoukis Consulting Group, a federal prison consultancy that assists attorneys, federal criminal defendants, and federal prisoners with prison preparation, in-prison matters, and reentry. His books include Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2020), Federal Prison Handbook (Middle Street Publishing, 2017), Prison Education Guide (PLN Publishing, 2016), and College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Company, 2014).

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