December 8, 2014
Medical Testing on the Incarcerated
In the 1940s, the U.S. deliberately infected hundreds of Guatemalans with venereal diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhea. They did so without any of the subjects’ consent. Many of the subjects that were experimented on were prisoners. The US conducted many experiments on these people in which 696 subjects were male prisoners and female patients in the National Mental Health Hospital of Guatemala. Years later, President Barack Obama called Álvaro Colom, Guatemala’s president, to personally apologize for the U.S. government research activities, but that is just one of the many horrific prisoner experiments that have occurred throughout history. The current issue that is being heavily debated within society is whether or not the incarcerated should be used for medical research. Because of the unethical, illegal, and harmful actions that are brought up with experimenting on the incarcerated, medical testing should not be allowed. Medical research on prisoners is both illegal and unethical. Over the years prisoners have been experimented on, without being able to give their consent. The ones that did give their consent, coercion was most likely involved. In cases where records show prisoners agreeing to give their consent, the prisoners were actually forced to do so or given a compromise. Medical research on prisoners violates the protection of prisoner’s rights. According to the United States Constitution, cruel and unusual punishment against prisoners should be prohibited. This means that the government has no right to inflict prisoners with cruel, degrading, and inhumane treatment regardless of their crime. To treat prisoners that are on death row with nonconsensual medical experiments, without even informing them of the potential harm and risks, is a cruel and inhumane punishment without justification. It's absolutely degrading to treat prisoners as animals...