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COMMUNITY RETURN STUDY and PRISON EXPERIENCE PROJECT
With initial funding from the Rutgers University Academic Excellence program, we have been investigating social, behavioral, and ecological aspects of the prison re-entry process. Via extensive face-to-face interviews with men who have served time in the New Jersey prison system, we have been exploring the extent to which psychosocial risk and resource factors relate to outcomes typically associated with either successful re-entry or the increased likelihood of recidivism. The Community Return Study led to one of the first articles documenting the mental health impacts of exposure to violence during incarceration.
NEWARK COMMUNITY EXPERIENCE PROJECT
In collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Sloan-Power (Rutgers Department of Social Work) and with funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, we collected mixed-method data from adolescents and their parents living in Newark to explore their experiences with violence and crime, and evaluate how those experiences affect their mental health, social adjustment, and academic performance. Early findings from this study confirm the importance of studying youth’s styles of coping intrapersonally.
EVALUATION OF INTERVENTION SERVICES FOR GANG YOUTH
Through our partnership with Community Solutions, Incorporated – a major nonprofit provider of intervention services for youth and their families – we have been collecting data from “real world” clinical practice in an effort to understand how youth involved in gangs are best served by evidence-based interventions. This project is supported by the US Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (co-investigators are Drs. Bonnie Veysey and Mike Ostermann) and will have important implications for the field of interventions for youth in the justice system. A pilot study for this project demonstrated that outcomes were less successful when gang involvement was a key referral issue in treatment.
EFFECTS OF EXPOSURE TO PERSISTENT AND SEVERE VIOLENCE
With researchers at the University of Michigan’s Aggression Research Program, as well as Hebrew University and the Palestine Center for Policy and Survey Research, we are investigating the consequences for child and adolescent development of exposure to ongoing ethnic-political conflict and violence. This ongoing study is supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development involves multi-wave, multi-method data collection from children and their families living in Israel and Palestine. Findings so far are making important contributions to our understanding of just how damaging exposure to ethnic-political violence can be.
We are always interested in new projects, especially those that connect with or involve directly agencies that serve the needs of at-risk or high-risk children, adolescents, and families. Interested undergraduates, potential new graduate students, and other collaborators should feel free to contact us with project inquiries.