Episode 135 - Chris Veeh: Traumatic Brain Injury and Incarcerated Youths: A Role for Social Work

Monday, January 20, 2014, 9:52:51 AM

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In this episode, Chris Veeh discusses how early life head trauma can play a role in behavior that leads to incarceration. He also suggests that the number of incarcerated youth with traumatic brain injury (TBI) is significant. Tools to screen and assess for TBI history in adolescents as well as evidence-based interventions that the social work practitioner can employ are identified.

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Average Rating: 5stars  closer look into tbi's in minors!, Saturday, February 08, 2020

By Kimberly Corrie :

As an athlete and high school coach, I've unfortunately been surrounded by numerous head injuries and have noticed an increase over the past few years. This podcast provided an interesting perspective of the long term effects that TBI's can have on today's youth. The research mentioned in the podcast gives an overwhelming realization and possible explanation for some of those in our youth detention centers. As mentioned, the incarcerated population having three times more traumatic brain injuries should be a cause for concern.
I appreciated the comments made by Veeh on the importance of assessing those incarcerated, particularly those that express history of brain injury. However, I do think we should increase the intensity and frequency of assessments in all athletes or youth who experience head injuries. By doing so, I believe that this will provide immediate data following the incident that can be used as a comparison when/if the youth is incarcerated. The interviewee also stated an important point that the injury to the prefrontal cortex can impair or cause limitations on the ability of the youth to maintain self-control and moderate these risky behaviors that can cause criminality.
The podcast gave the reminder that it is essential that brain injuries are taken seriously, whether they are sports injuries, car accidents, or other traumatic incidents. It is concerning that the speaker mentioned the data that states that 85% of minors do not report or treat their brain injuries. This number is astounding and something must be done. Simply conducting more frequent and in depth assessments could lead to the decrease in those incarcerated, or the proper treatment and education to those more vulnerable to TBI side effects.

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Average Rating: 5stars  information on tbi, so important for social workers!, Sunday, February 10, 2019

By Sara E. :

My interest in this topic is strong. In addition to my interest in working with at-risk children and youth, I lost my nephew to suicide in 2016. He was a young man who had two severe head injuries before the age of 6, one of which he was unconscious for five days. He was homeless and living on the west coast at the time of his death, and had been incarcerated at least twice as a young adult. Many of the points Mr. Veeh makes in this podcast validate many of the concerns that I had when he was a child, that TBI may have played a major role in his impulsivity, and behavior difficulties. It was a highly complicated situation, and there were plenty of things to point to, but despite awareness of his injuries, he was never screened, assessed, or diagnosed with or treated for TBI. I can’t help but wonder if proper treatment might have made a difference. Although, Mr. Veeh acknowledges that measurement can be challenging based on the varied ways in which TBI has been defined, the research indicates that a significant percentage of incarcerated youth, over 18% in the study in Missouri, were found to have experienced a head injury that left them unconscious for 20 minutes or more. Veeh advocates for universal screening for TBI for incarcerated youth, and provides information on valid and reliable tools for screening, as well as some suggestions for possible interventions that can be used in social work practice, highly recommending a cross-disciplinary approach. Due to the fact that Veeh cites research that states that 85% of TBIs are never documented, In one aspect, I would go a step further and suggest that universal screening for TBI be done in schools, with all at-risk children that present with symptoms that might indicate a history of TBI, so that treatment can be started before children end up in trouble with the law. This is such important information and research, and I will be interested in learning about additional studies that have been done in this area!

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Average Rating: 5stars  review: tbi and incarcerated youth, Monday, February 03, 2014

By Brenna Vermilyea :

This podcast was very interesting and informative. The initial portion involving a description of traumatic brain injury was helpful in understanding the overall content of the podcast, and it was also interesting to learn that the severity of TBI is categorized by the length of unconsciousness that the person experiences. The fact that almost twenty percent of incarcerated youth report experiencing a moderate to severe TBI really supports this idea. All of the relationships between one's level of self-control, impulsiveness, and planning ability seem to make a lot of sense. It is good that validated assessment tools have been created and that there are evidence-based practices being initiated. Hopefully, more research will continue to be conducted on this topic. The idea that social workers may want to consider reaching out to other disciplines seems to be very important. This whole concept is a very good example of why it is necessary to contemplate the role of a medical model or explanation, as many aspects of social work are often grounded in theory. This research will hopefully continue and lead to ways of helping youth with TBIs before they reach the point of incarceration. Excellent podcast!

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Average Rating: 5stars  review - tbi and incarcerated youth, Friday, January 31, 2014

By Dave Edgar :

I am reviewing this Podcast because I just started working with a youth who has suffered a traumatic brain injury, and has had numerous encounters with the criminal justice system.
While reviewing assessments of youth involved in the criminal justice system,Veeh noticed a pattern: many of these individuals have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI), (blow to the head accompanied by a loss of consciousness) earlier in their lives.
His meta-analysis of the literature revealed that there was an association between TBI and youth incarceration rates. Ferrer (2011), found incarcerated youth were 3.38 times more likely to have experienced a TBI than non-incarcerated youth.
A weakness found in his research was that there was inconsistency in the tools used to measure TBI’s and most go unreported. He proposes screening for TBI’s with improved tools when assessing incarcerated youth. It is important to identify clients who has experienced a TBI, and how this affects your intervention choices.
TBI’s can cause behavioural abnormalities. They often affect emotional and cognitive processes, increasing the likelihood that an individual might engage in risky, aggressive, or impulsive behaviours associated with criminal activity. Social workers need to give consideration to their unique needs.
Veeh’s research also encourages the creation of bridges between the fields of social work and neuroscience. We might add educators in this discussion. Collaboration will facilitate more effective support for youth with TBI’s involved with the criminal justice system and possibly kids who engage in risky behaviour.
Veeh has made an important contribution by shedding light on the relationship between incarcerated youth an TBI’s. He interventions he recommends are well worth considering. I intend to incorporate them in my practice.

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Average Rating: 4stars  integrating neuroscience with universal tbi assessmts , Thursday, January 30, 2014

By Donna Wolfe :

Dear Chris Veeh- I am a prospective S.W. student that is interested in the neuroscience of the brain and how it can be measured for assessing TBI for a universal TBI assessment evaluation. Your work in reviewing the literature of incarcerated youth was quite informative. It seems that this is a population that has not been studied for inappropriate/illegal behaviors in a medical, neuroscience format before and is much needed. Especially knowing what we know about the brain so far, If we as social workers want to dig deep and ask the right medical questions to initiate a proper assessment tool, the reasons can be reliably assessed and the inappropriate/illegal behaviors managed and controlled rather than repeated with incarceration after incarceration. The positive affects can be increased in all aspects of a person's social life. ....Please continue your research because you have an interested prospective student in the MSW program at University at Buffalo. Thanks Donna Wolfe

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