Correctional Mental Health Research: Opportunities and Barriers
In March 2007, a national work group met to review the state of mental health research in correctional settings. Participants identified gaps in current knowledge and topics most in need of further research. The discussion of important subjects for further investigation focused on five broad, and often overlapping, content areas: epidemiology, research methodology, functional behaviors, efficacy of interventions, and safety. Barriers to conducting correctional research that the group identified included funding difficulties, resistance from stakeholders, restricted access to subjects, limited information technology, ethical concerns, and institutional review board (IRB) requirements. Potential strategies for overcoming these barriers, such as setting appropriate priorities, easing the burden of research protocols, identifying key collaborators, and facilitating the IRB-approval process, were also discussed.