This paper reviews the background and the issues pertaining to prisoners being subject to medical experiments for research. This has been a big development in prisons especially for inmates on death row. As shocking as it may seem the US government thought it was perfectly fine to practice medical experiments on prison inmates and the disabled. Such experiments that could possibly kill them such as Hepatitis, the pandemic flu, and in some cases even cancer. These experiments caused relatively healthy people to become sick.
"Dr Joseph Goldberger, a public health official, sought to unravel the mystery of pellagra, a deadly and at times disfiguring disease that was particularly virulent in the southern United States"(Hornblum) He recruited dozens of Mississippi prison inmates to try and prove his theory that pellagra and deadly disease is caused by dietary deficiency. Although pellagra is a vitamin deficiency disease caused by the lack of niacin in ones diet. "The inmate volunteers-after a promise of a pardon-were gradually weaned away from their normal diet and given a steady supply of cornbread, sweet potatoes, grits, and rice. Complaints grew as the men suffered from lethargy, dizziness, and pains in their backs, sides, and legs."(Hornblum) The lack of niacin caused them to have digestive problems that lessened the chance of their body breaking down food which created their bodies to decrease the amount of vitamin B3 which I an amino acid that can become Niacin. After time the inmates symptoms grew stronger. Soon the reaction to the project began to be shown throughout the skin which was the red scars that began coming up. As harsh as that sickness seemed, they did not stop there. .
In addition, there was also Dr. L. L. Stanley who was a physician at the San Quentin prison whose experiment was to supposedly help older men by implant ting testicles from dead prison inmates and/or livestock such as goats.