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Challenge Academy Re-entry Program

The Adolescent Development and Delinquency Lab has partnered with the El Paso Juvenile Probation Department to design a re-entry program to facilitate successful reintegration of Samuel F. Santana Challenge Academy youths into the community post-incarceration. The re-entry program will introduce services and supports for parents and the family unit to ensure stability in the home environment, strengthen services and supports to promote reduction or cessation of substance use and abuse, target positive use of leisure time (e.g., leadership activities,  community engagement), provide supports to discourage school drop-out, maintain intensive clinical services, and enhance job skills training and job readiness assistance.

PI: April Gile Thomas, Ph.D. (University of Texas at El Paso)
Co-PI: Anna D. Drozdova, M.A. (University of Texas at El Paso)

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Adolescent Legal Decision Making Study

Adolescents and adults differ in their general decision-making competence; however, despite the heavy consequences that can be incurred by juvenile adjudication (i.e., being incarcerated and removed from their home, falling behind in school, a juvenile record), there is little research regarding the factors that might influence legal decision-making among adolescents involved with the justice system. The Adolescent Legal Decision Making Study aims to investigate how various developmental, legal, cultural, and social factors influence adolescents’ legal decision making throughout the adjudication process. This study will utilize structured interviews with adolescents, collateral reports from their defense attorneys, and official court records to examine adolescents’ legal decision making.

PI: April Gile Thomas, Ph.D. (University of Texas at El Paso)
Co-PI: Isabelle Clough, M.A. (University of Texas at El Paso)

Collaborators:
Krystia Reed, Ph.D. (University of Texas at El Paso)
Josiah Heyman, Ph.D. (University of Texas at El Paso)
Jeremy Slack, Ph.D. (University of Texas at El Paso)

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Community Legal Knowledge and Attitudes Study

The Community Legal Knowledge and Attitudes Study seeks to determine the extent to which adults in the United States are aware of and knowledgeable on general legal concepts and specific laws and policies, including interrogation procedures and false confessions, juvenile justice system policies, the insanity defense, and the death penalty. Additionally, this study seeks to examine how general and specific legal knowledge are associated with adults’ attitudes about the criminal justice system before and after an informational intervention. The Community Legal Knowledge and Attitudes Study is study is funded by the UTEP University Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CURE) Development Program.

PI: April Gile Thomas, Ph.D. (University of Texas at El Paso)

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Daily Experiences during COVID-19 Study

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Adolescent Social Relationships Study

This multi-site, randomized control trial examines the effects of parental and peer influence on adolescent risk behavior. This research was funded by the American Psychological Association.

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Adolescent and Parent Legal Knowledge

This study, led by Dr. April Gile Thomas (UTEP) and Dr. Caitlin Cavanagh (MSU), focuses on the effects of COVID-19 on teens and their parents. The study assesses adolescents from three samples (incarceration, community probation, and never arrested) using structured interviews, actigraph technology, and daily diary assessments to examine how incarcerated and justice-involved teens may be especially impacted by the current global pandemic. The Daily Experiences during COVID-19 Study was funded by the National Science Foundation RAPID Response Grant.

PI: April Gile Thomas, Ph.D. (University of Texas at El Paso)
Co-PI: Caitlin Cavanagh, Ph.D. (Michigan State University)

 

This multi-site study, led by Dr. April Thomas (UTEP) and Dr. Adam Fine (ASU), investigates what adolescents and their parents know about the policies and procedures of the juvenile justice system, how they come to obtain such knowledge, and the role that legal knowledge plays in deterrence. The specific legal policies of interest include those on sexting, age of consent, and juvenile transfer to criminal court. This research was funded by grants from the American Psychology-Law Society.

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Adolescent Social Development and Sleep Study

Adolescence is a time of changes in the development of sleep patterns and an increased susceptibility to sleep disorders. Sleep problems are likely to be exacerbated during incarceration, which can have consequences for mental health and future offenses. This longitudinal, multi-method study uses actigraph assessments, electronic daily diary assessments, structured interviews, collateral reports, and official records to examine the effect of incarceration on adolescent sleep, mental health, and delinquency. Adolescents from three samples (incarcerated, community probation, and never arrested) are assessed across a period of two years. This study is funded by the National Science Foundation and an American Psychological Foundation Visionary Grant.

PI: April Gile Thomas, Ph.D. (University of Texas at El Paso)
Co-PI: Caitlin Cavanagh, Ph.D. (Michigan State University)
Collaborators:
Jennifer Eno Louden, Ph.D. (University of Texas at El Paso)
Adriana Galván, Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles)
Adam Feterman, Ph.D. (University of Houston)