Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #309
CE Offered: BACB
Context Matters: Implementing Interventions Within Juvenile Justice Facilities
Sunday, May 30, 2021
5:00 PM–6:50 PM
Area: CSS; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Rasha Baruni (University of South Florida )
Discussant: P. Raymond Joslyn (Utah State University)
CE Instructor: P. Raymond Joslyn, M.S.

This symposium aims to disseminate some current research on the delivery of interventions within the context of juvenile justice settings. It brings together four studies that focus on important considerations that are pertinent to the safe functioning of the facility and delivering beneficial interventions for the residents. The first presentation will review prescribing and deprescribing practices for residents and the implications of those practices. The next presentation will describe an evaluation of positive and negative resident-staff interactions which informed a subsequent intervention for improved staff practices. Presentation three will discuss a pyramidal training model using behavioral skills training to improve the use of praise by staff. The final presentation will describe a training protocol using behavioral skills training for staff to improve contraband searches in resident rooms. Collectively, these presentations will highlight some of the varied interventions that may be important to consider in the context of juvenile justice facilities.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts who work in juvenile justice facilities or are interested in learning about interventions within these settings would benefit from the presentations in this symposium.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. Identify recommended prescribing guidelines for prescribing psychotropic medication to juveniles, especially those in secure residential justice facilities. 2. Describe the importance of increasing positive staff member and resident interactions in a juvenile justice facility. 3. Describe how Pyramidal Behavior Skills Training was implemented in a juvenile residential facility 4. Describe how behavioral skills training can be implemented with staff to teach job skills using a task analysis.
Psychotropic Medication Prescribing in a Residential Treatment Facility: Evidence of a Limited Deprescribing Process
ASHLEY ANDERSON (Auburn University), John T. Rapp (Auburn University), Erica Kierce (Auburn University)
Abstract: This study examined medical files for former residents of a juvenile residential facility. Review of medical files for 135 adolescents adjudicated for sexual offenses revealed 57 (42.2%) received one or more psychotropic medications during their stay. The most frequently prescribed psychotropic medications for residents were stimulants (53.6%), antidepressants (50.9%), and antipsychotics (19.3%). Although more residents were taking medications at discharge than intake, statistical analysis revealed residents received a fewer number of medications at discharge than intake. In addition, 22 (38.6%) of the 57 residents who received psychotropic medication experienced deprescribing (discontinuation) of all psychotropic medication prior to discharge. Individuals who received an antipsychotic were (a) most likely to receive multiple psychotropic medications and (b) least likely to experience deprescribing of any medication. Residents who entered the facility with psychotropic medication were less likely to experience deprescribing than those who received psychotropic medication after intake. Guidelines exist to facilitate best practices for prescribers when prescribing to individuals in residential facilities, these are briefly discussed.

Increasing Praise Delivery Within Dorms of a Juvenile Justice Facility

ODESSA LUNA (St. Cloud State University), John T. Rapp (Auburn University)

It remains unclear whether practitioners can apply behavioral interventions to increase staff members’ appropriate interactions with residents within a juvenile justice facility. In Study 1, researchers compared staff behavior in three dorms (D1, D2, and D3) containing high levels of resident disruptive behavior to a dorm (D4) with consistently low levels of disruptive behavior. Staff in target dorms engaged in significantly higher rates of reprimands and negative statements than in D4. In Study 2, researchers trained staff in D1, D2, and D3 to increase contingent and noncontingent praise delivery. Results indicated praise delivery by staff increased slightly in each target dorm. In Study 3, researchers evaluated the extent to which measures of staff members’ and residents’ behaviors improved following training within each dorm. Subsequently, researchers compared the post-training behavioral measures from D1, D2 and D3 to D4 to determine the extent to which staff behavior in the training dorms was distinguishable from D4. Results of Study 3 indicated one or more staff behaviors improved in each training dorm. Residents’ disruptive behavior was unchanged in each target dorm. Staff members’ behavior in each target dorm continued to be distinguishable from staff members’ behavior in D4 on most measures.

Pyramidal Training in a Juvenile Residential Facility: Staff to Self-Monitor Use of Behavior Specific Praise
ZOE I HAY (ATBx), Kwang-Sun Cho Blair (University of South Florida), Trevor Maxfield (University of South Florida )
Abstract: Juvenile residential facilities are punitive and restrictive limiting youth opportunity to learn and engage in adaptive behavior. Staff training is necessary to reduce the punishment-based behavior management practices that are often in place and to increase reinforcement of appropriate behavior. Pyramidal training is a cost-effective and efficient strategy to train multiple levels of staff on behavior analytic skills. In this study a pyramidal training approach was used to train juvenile residential supervisors to deliver training to floor staff, using behavioral skills training (BST) procedures and to implement self-monitoring procedures to improve their practices. A multiple baseline across participants design was used to examine the impact of pyramidal training on supervisor’s procedural fidelity of delivering training to floor staff. Additionally, a multiple baseline across participants design evaluated floor staff delivery of behavior specific praise (BSP) and negative interactions. Changes in staff’s perception of problem behavior in youth they oversee were also examined. The results indicated that the pyramidal training was successful in improving supervisor procedural fidelity of conducting BST. Which resulted in increases in floor staff’s use BSP and decreases in negative interactions. Furthermore, the staff’s perceived levels of youth’s inappropriate behavior and major problem behavior decreased as a result.
Behavioral Skills Training to Increase Fidelity of Staff Room Searches at a Juvenile Residential Facility
ELLIE MOROSOHK (Adapt and Transform Behavior), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida), Rasha Baruni (University of South Florida ), Jennifer L. Cook (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Room searches are a critical job task that staff at a juvenile residential facility complete daily in order to maintain the safety and security of the facility. For this study, we used a multiple baseline design to examine the effectiveness of behavioral skills training (BST) for teaching staff to complete thorough room searches. Room searches were measured as percentage of steps correct on a task analysis. We also evaluated the potential for reactivity when staff were unaware of the researcher’s presence. Because we were unable to use video recordings in this study, we measured reactivity using duration of search and compared it to their previous duration with correct responding. If reactivity was evident, we provided feedback to the staff member and showed them how to use the room search task analysis as a self-monitoring checklist. The use of BST, feedback, and self-monitoring were effective for teaching staff how to thoroughly conduct and maintain room searches.



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