Applying Developmental Neuroscience to Incarcerated Adolescents (AD-in)
PROJECT SUMMARY: Building upon adolescent research showing that connection to caring adults is a key protective factor, the Indiana project examines whether changing juvenile prison staff members’ perceptions about adolescents, and equipping them to provide evidence-based programs, improves outcomes. Through a mixed-methods, stepped-wedge design, this research evaluates a neuroscience-based intervention that will train staff in Indiana’s four juvenile prisons on the basics of the adolescent brain and improve their use of adolescent-specific de-escalation techniques. The goal of the training is to provide staff with a better understanding of the causes of adolescent behaviors and decision-making, explicit bias, the role of culture, and strategies for working with difficult adolescents. Utilizing a developmental neuroscience perspective and focusing on the positive aspects of youth and their rehabilitative potential, this research can contribute to best practices in juvenile justice reform.
[Pictured from Left to Right]
- Abby Hunt, MSW, Executive Director, Health Care Education and Training, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
- Mary Ott, MA, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
- Matthew Aalsma, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis