Prisoners are made vulnerable by their incarceration. In this environment, the incarcerated lose the opportunity to be their own decision-makers and exist in a dependent relationship with the prison system. General research ethics guidance exists for research with prisoners, however, very little research specifically in humanitarian or disaster settings is lacking.
Torture survivors live with deep psychological wounds due to the traumatic, multi-dimensional harm from their experiences, often involving former incarceration. In both of these populations that tend to overlap in humanitarian crises, collected data are sensitive and should remain confidential to the greatest extent possible. The research study should be reviewed continually to identify areas that may be producing more harm than benefit or may be creating undue coercion to this population. Red flags, such as a high drop-out rate or lack of long term improvement scores, should raise questions attention to possible protocol modifications.