This project imports social-personality theory and research on moral emotions and cognitions to the applied problems of crime, substance abuse, and HIV risk behavior. The primary aims are to better understand the role of moral emotions (i.e., shame, guilt and empathy) and moral cognitions (i.e., criminogenic beliefs) in the lives of currently and recently incarcerated offenders, and to develop effective culturally sensitive jail-based interventions targeting these theoretically specified mechanisms of actions (MOAs) to reduce post-release substance use, HIV risk, and recidivism and to enhance offenders'reintegration into the community. Funding is requested to support 4 initiatives: (1) Complete 1 and 4 year post-release interviews of Study 1, a basic research prospective study of moral emotions and cognitions of 508 serious offenders first assessed shortly upon entry to a county jail, and extend the study with 7 and 10 year post-release follow-up interviews;(2) Complete initial phases of Study 2, a Phase II Randomized Clinical Trial (RCT) of the restorative justice-inspired Impact of Crime (IOC) group intervention of 200 jail inmates nearing release into the community, focusing on moral emotions and cognitions as MOAs, and extending this longitudinal study with 3 and 5 year post-release assessments;(3) """"""""Dismantle"""""""" the IOC intervention into shorter term modules, and conduct a Phase 1b RCT evaluation to identify its most active components, tailored for pre-trial and pre-sentencing inmates, the most transient subpopulation of jail inmates, in a form that is """"""""setting friendly"""""""" responding to the unique constraints of the jail environment;(4) Complete a Phase Ib RCT of a brief manualized """"""""shame-reducing"""""""" group intervention for inmates with Substance Use Disorders.
The aims of Studies 2, 3 and 4 are to develop treatments tailored to the unique needs of jail inmates and the constraints of jail settings, drawing on results of Study 1. Each year, 7.6 million inmates are released from correctional facilities - with most (7 million) released from jails, not prisons. Yet most treatment - and indeed most treatment research - occurs in prisons, not jails. Unlike prisons typically situated in distant rural areas, jails are located in the heart of communities facilitating post-release planning, family re-unification, continuity of care, etc. Although seriously underutilized, our nation's jails offer an ideal window of opportunity for timely intervention with a large high-risk, multi- need population. Taken together, the proposed project is designed to help fill this gap, developing theory-based empirically supported treatments for jail inmates, capitalizing on cutting edge social psychological research on moral emotions and moral cognitions, and utilizing innovative technologies for assessment to assist treatment providers.

Public Health Relevance

The aim is to reduce several heavy burdens on society - the burden of mental illness (especially antisocial personality disorder), the burden of substance dependence, the burden of HIV infection, and the burden of crime - via interventions tailored to meet the needs of jail inmates nearing re-entry into the community.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Social Psychology, Personality and Interpersonal Processes Study Section (SPIP)
Program Officer
Aklin, Will
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George Mason University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Moore, Kelly E; Milam, Katherine C; Folk, Johanna B et al. (2018) Self-stigma among Criminal Offenders: Risk and Protective Factors. Stigma Health 3:241-252
Moore, Kelly E; Folk, Johanna B; Boren, Emily A et al. (2018) Pilot study of a brief dialectical behavior therapy skills group for jail inmates. Psychol Serv 15:98-108
Malouf, Elizabeth T; Youman, Kerstin; Stuewig, Jeffrey et al. (2017) A Pilot RCT of a Values-Based Mindfulness Group Intervention with Jail Inmates: Evidence for Reduction in Post-Release Risk Behavior. Mindfulness (N Y) 8:603-614
Moore, Kelly E; Tangney, June P; Stuewig, Jeffrey B (2016) The Self-Stigma Process in Criminal Offenders. Stigma Health 1:206-224
Schaefer, Karen E; Esposito-Smythers, Christianne; Tangney, June P (2016) Suicidal ideation in a United States jail: Demographic and psychiatric correlates. J Forens Psychiatry Psychol 27:698-704
Adams, Leah M; Stuewig, Jeffrey B; Tangney, June P (2016) Relation of borderline personality features to preincarceration HIV risk behaviors of jail inmates: Evidence for gender differences? Personal Disord 7:40-9
Folk, Johanna B; Mashek, Debra; Tangney, June et al. (2016) Connectedness to the criminal community and the community at large predicts 1-year post-release outcomes among felony offenders. Eur J Soc Psychol 46:341-355
Folk, Johanna B; Blasko, Brandy L; Warden, Rebecca et al. (2016) Feasibility and Acceptability of an Impact of Crime Group Intervention with Jail Inmates. Vict Offender 11:436-454
Tangney, June P; Folk, Johanna B; Graham, David M et al. (2016) Changes in Inmates' Substance Use and Dependence From Pre-Incarceration to One Year Post-Release. J Crim Justice 46:228-238
Caudy, Michael S; Folk, Johanna B; Stuewig, Jeffrey B et al. (2015) Does substance misuse moderate the relationship between criminal thinking and recidivism? J Crim Justice 43:12-19

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