Inmates may have recently received a survey in the mail that looks like it is from a news station. VADOC has not been able to confirm that it is from a news station. Anything that inmates put on the survey could be used against them in a court of law. Inmates do not have to reply to this survey or provide any information if they don’t want to take the chance of it being made public.
The VADOC has a Human Research Review Committee (HSRRC) to protect inmates from negative consequences of participating in surveys and research. All surveys and research involving inmates is supposed to go through the HSRRC review process for approval first. These surveys didn’t go through the process and so VADOC could not review them or check into the people who sent them.
Any research that has been reviewed and approved will include a written informed consent that will thoroughly explain to inmates what the project is, any risk or benefit for inmates, a requirement that the information be confidential, and acknowledgement that inmates do not need to participate in the project. Further, it will tell the inmates that if they decide to participate, they can stop at any time. No research should ever proceed without the affected inmates signing that they understand and agree to participate.
This survey does not come with any guarantee of confidentiality and VADOC doesn’t know what the senders will do with the information they receive.
We urge inmates to be cautious about responding to such requests.