Clinical trials on Prisoners in exchange for lighter sentences?
Firstly, I believe it isn’t even effective to perform drug trials on prisoners. Whenever scientists perform drug trials they need to control as many variables as possible to achieve a fair test and a valid conclusion. This cannot be done with prisoners since the authorities only possess a partial, present health record of the prisoners. The prison does not know and the prisoners will not wish to disclose if they have consumed drugs or alcohol in excess in the past. We do not know whether they may have gained immunity in the past to the infection in question. Who knows what detrimental effects those must have already had on the body! This means that performing drug trials on a prisoner whose history you know little about could lead to long-term health implications for these prisoners. This means that the drugs the scientists wish to test on the prisoners may have completely different effects to the normal population. This could be very harmful to society since the drugs may not have been effective in the first place or may cause unforeseen complications in the rest of society.
Also, prisoners may face a large amount of mental trauma in jail, and they have a great desire to obtain freedom. They are willing to do anything possible to get out of jail. On the other hand, the government urgently needs people to test out new drugs that scientists have come up with to battle a problematic, easily-transmissible infection. Very few people want to take the risk to try out a new drug that has been hurriedly concocted. Well, what does the government do? They test it out on a vulnerable community, the prisoners, and bribe them with the prize of a lighter sentence. Are we sending people into rehabilitation programs to turn them into guinea pigs so that they can be tested upon?
We can conclude that this is an extremely unethical practice which, if in effect anywhere, should be terminated immediately.