Re Medical Testing at Attica:

Since the publication of the book there has been some renewed interest in the issue of medical testing in prisons. Although it is the case that there was medical testing at Attica, there is no evidence, nor should anyone assume, that the physician working in this facility, Dr. Michael Brandriss, put any prisoner in danger. Dr. Brandriss himself questioned the rigor with which consent was mandated in prisons, but was committed to seeking such consent. Indeed, Dr. Brandriss was well-respected in his field as someone who worked tireless to find cures for serious illnesses, while also being careful not to subject anyone to harm. Nevertheless, the broader point in the book and in a subsequent piece I wrote on this topic--that  prison officials at Attica allowed those in their charge to be placed in that potentially harmful position--remains worthy of note. Evidence from other prisons in this period such as Holmsburg, etc., make that clear that prisoners in this period lacked the power necessary to grant consent--the power to say no when prison officials wanted them to do something--even if that something was submit to medical experimentation. It is a blessing that Dr. Brandriss had them read their consent forms and took care not to subject them to anything dangerous, but it remains deeply problematic that NY state prison officials allowed such medical testing to go on in their facilities. This history is important to consider today since prison officials, physicians, and pharmaceutical companies have begun mobilizing to relax barriers to medical testing in penal institutions,