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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #104
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysis in Juvenile Justice and Human Trafficking
Saturday, May 25, 2024
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Marriott Downtown, Level 3, Liberty Ballroom Salon A
Area: CSS; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Asha Fuller (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Asha Fuller, M.S.
Abstract: Applied behavior analysis has been demonstrated to be effective at assessing and developing interventions for socially significant behaviors with a variety of populations and settings. However, many marginalized populations such as juvenile justice and human trafficking lack substantial behavior analytic research and service provision. This symposium will include three presentations focusing on behavior analytic approaches within juvenile justice and human trafficking. The first presentation will discuss successes and barriers to providing behavior analytic services to youth with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in juvenile justice settings. The second presentation will describe the statewide implementation and outcomes of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) within juvenile justice facilities. Lastly, the third presentation will describe the findings of a scoping review conducted on the environmental conditions, risk factors, and lures used within human trafficking. Implications for practice, advocacy, and future directions within juvenile justice and human trafficking will be discussed.
Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): advocacy, human trafficking, interprofessional collaboration, juvenile justice
Target Audience: Necessary prerequisite skills for this symposium include an understanding of assessment and intervention development, competing contingencies, staff training, and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the barriers in service provision within juvenile justice settings; (2) describe the implementation and outcomes of PBIS within juvenile justice settings; (3) describe the lures, risk factors, and environmental variables involved in human trafficking.

A Behavior Analyst Working With Incarcerated Youth: Successes and Barriers

DEBORAH A. NAPOLITANO (Daemen University )

According to Rava et al. (2107), by the age of 21 approximately 20% of their sample of teenagers with Autism had some contact with law enforcement, with approximately 5% having been arrested. Due to systemic problems with the services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in the criminal justice system in New York it is highly likely that this statistic is at least indicative of this overrepresentation of persons with autism and/or IDD served by the Division of Juvenile Justice System programs (DJJOY) in New York State. There are many systemic barriers that likely contribute, including poor services for individuals with IDD, lack of availability of diagnostic services, and a lack of services and advocacy in schools particularly for individuals from historically marginalized communities (e.g., persons of color). This significant problem creates a need for behavior-analytic services, interprofessional collaboration, and advocacy directly with teams working in the Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare, and Developmental Disability systems as well as at the systems and legislative levels. The purpose of this presentation is to describe some of the successes and barriers to providing behavior-analytic services and advocacy within the juvenile-justice system in New York. Additionally, tips on how to respecialize in one’s scope of practice and competence to provide services to this much needed population will be discussed.

Building Constructive Prison Environments: 50 Years After Skinner’s Call for Positive Action
AUTUMN KAUFMAN (Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice), James Santoyo (Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice), Michael Ito (Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice)
Abstract: Token economy effectiveness with prison populations and adjudicated youth has been established within the behavior analytic literature over the past 50 years. An increase in their implementation within juvenile justice facilities through the use of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) has occurred over the past 20 years. More recently, an increase has also occurred in legislation being passed requiring the use of PBIS to offset policies and procedures that are punitive, developmentally inappropriate, and unequitable. Following a significant transformation focused on diversionary practices, the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice now operates one maximum security facility. Youth served are historically under resourced and cross multiple systems. Over the past five years, Virginia DJJ has implemented PBIS within their Division of Education. The results demonstrated a significant decrease in the total occurrence of disruptive behavior, and the duration of time students spent out of class due to school disciplinary removals, allowing increased instructional opportunities. This success and recommendations from a state auditory investigation for an evidence-based behavior management program has led to the expansion of PBIS facility-wide. This presentation will explore the opportunity for increased behavior analytic applications to a large-scale implementation covering all systems within a state government agency.
Scoping Review of Commonly Used Lures in Human Trafficking
ARTURO GARCIA (University of South Florida), Kimberly Crosland (University of South Florida), Cecilia Pannone (University of South Florida), Andrea Babb (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Traffickers lure an individual into a situation or engage in a behavior that will likely result in their entrapment and exploitation. An individual’s propensity to victimization by responding to lures may be influenced by certain environmental conditions (e.g., history of abuse) and instances of high-risk behaviors (e.g., running away). By identifying environmental conditions surrounding abuse instances, it may be possible to construct a functional relationship between the altering value of trafficker-used lures and cumulative risk factors. A scoping review of the current literature was conducted, following the guidelines of the PRISMA-ScR, to identify trends and patterns of lures and grooming strategies used by traffickers. The review was conducted across four databases: PubMed, SAGE Journals Online, ScienceDirect, and Web of Science. Articles were categorized by their methodological approach. The database search identified 206 articles, of which 50 were categorized as mixed-method research. Extrapolated data were analyzed for correlations between (a) risk factors, (b) environmental conditions, and (c) high-risk behaviors. This paper will discuss a theoretical framework, based on behavior analytical principles, for the functional relationship of the cumulative risk factors that precede and increase the likelihood of vulnerability and victimization to sexual exploitation in relation to a trafficker’s commonly used lures.



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