Prevention Intervention for Drug Use and Related Behaviors for Incarcerated Youth
Funded by: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Project dates: September 2008 - June 2012
Principal Investigator: Leonard, Noelle

Youth offenders have high rates of mental health problems and substance use and abuse, which increase the likelihood of recidivism and also place them at elevated risk for HIV. Youth who are incarcerated are more likely to have higher rates of mental health problems and to have committed crimes involving violence. While incarceration provides the opportunity for treatment, the availability of treatment often falls short of what is required to reduce recidivism and enhance mental health. The project examined the effectiveness of an intervention called Power Source, which was developed by providers who work with offending youth.  The Power Source intervention uses behavioral skills-building training and mindfulness meditation to target impulse control, anger management, stress reduction and conflict resolution. The study examined the effects of the intervention on behavior problems, recidivism, delinquent behavior, and HIV-related sexual and substance use risk behaviors among incarcerated youth aged 16-18 in a NYC jail. This was the first study to show that mindfulness training can be used in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy to protect attentional functioning in high-risk incarcerated youth, paving the way to greater self-control over emotions and actions.

Abstract on NIH RePORTER
Related Publications
Umbach R, Leonard NR, Luciana M, Ling S, Laitner C (2019).
The Iowa Gambling Task in violent and nonviolent incarcerated male adolescents
Criminal Justice and Behavior, 46 (11), 1611-1629. doi: 10.1177/0093854819847707. PMCID: PMC7518041.

Umbach R, Raine A, Leonard NR (2018).
Cognitive decline as a result of incarceration and the effects of a CBT/MT intervention: A cluster-randomized controlled trial
Criminal Justice and Behavior, 45 (1), 31-55. doi: 10.1177/0093854817736345. PMCID: PMC5961486.

Leonard NR, Jha AP, Casarjian B, Goolsarran M, Garcia C, Cleland CM, Gwadz MV, Massey Z (2013).
Mindfulness training improves attentional task performance in incarcerated youth: A group randomized controlled intervention trial
Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 792. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00792. PMCID: PMC3820955.