What is the process for interviewing a convicted felon for a research project?
Make a plan as follows: Do face-to-face interviews; identify a facility within a close travel distance. This would mean identifying one or more facilities within travel range. Make a decision about whether to interview inmates one-on-one or in a group setting. In fact, try to answer (in advance) all the questions that you would be likely to be asked by a representative of the facility, starting with "Who are you and what's this for?" Be prepared to answer questions about educational or commercial affiliation, what guarantees of confidentiality would be provided, what releases to expect interviewees to sign, etc. With those structural and design decisions made, begin with three avenues of inquiry: 1. Do Internet research on some studies already done with inmates and see how the researchers went about it. 2. Contact the warden of the institutions targeted and ask how to obtain permission to speak with inmates and how to set it up. 3. Attempt to make contact with social agencies that serve those populations, such as counseling centers and career advisers, and see if they could provide a channel or offer advice. Although none of these approaches might take you directly to the answer, they would provide leads, and by following those leads you can figure out how to go about making contact. There are also unofficial organizations, such as, for example, an "engaged Buddhism" Zen group or a community outreach branch of a church, that have visitation channels into jails and prisons. One of those might furnish the necessary contacts.