Conducting Research With Criminalized Women in an Incarcerated Setting: The Researcher's Perspective

Sarah Benbow, Jodi Hall, Kristin Heard, Lorie Donelle


Although women incarcerated by the criminal justice system encounter significant challenges to their health, there has been little research focusing on their health practices. To contribute to the research literature on the health experiences of criminalized women, the authors conducted a multi-method study as part of a program of research exploring the health promotion and health-literacy skills of women in conflict with the law. Conducting research in an incarcerated setting posed unique challenges and ethical dilemmas that problematized each phase of data collection. The authors share their experiences as health researchers conducting research in an incarcerated setting and with criminalized women. They document some of the challenges, successes, and valuable lessons learned during the research process in the hope that by sharing their knowledge with other health researchers they will support future studies with criminalized women.

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