The scope for this project is to develop a tablet application to aid TCU's Institute of Behavioral Research (IBR) in their efforts to develop and test interventions that promote reductions in HIV risk behaviors and promote better decision making among offenders. The MakeSafe group from TCU's Computer Science Department will develop the application to meet IBR's interface and layout requirements as well as a means for revising and publishing future versions of the app without developer involvement. Specifically, the MakeSafe solution will include a mobile tablet application for Android, titled StaySafe and a version publishing application, titled KeepSafe. It addition, the MakeSafe solution will accomplish the other major objectives of this project which include saving application interactions, usage statistics, and user satisfaction data allowing IBR to agglomerate saved items into a central database.


The transition from incarceration to the community is a particularly high-risk period for offenders. During reentry, they are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors. Risk reduction approaches that focus on this critical period are needed to increase positive decision-making skills that promote healthy living. In particular, thematic interventions are needed to reduce disease risk behaviors that involve risk of HIV and Hepatitis B & C infection.

The Institute of Behavioral Research (IBR) at TCU first developed and tested an in prison, group based curriculum titled WaySafe, targeted toward incarcerated offenders in their last phase of substance-abuse treatment to improve decision-making when they return to the community. StaySafe, based on the WaySafe intervention, consists of twelve self-paced sessions lasting 10-15 minutes for use among community corrections populations. It's important to note that both WaySafe and StaySafe are drawn from an evidence-based practice called TCU Mapping Enhanced Counseling (recognized by the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices). The StaySafe tablet app is proposed as a means of providing an engaging, easy to use interface for the intervention.

The MakeSafe senior project, sponsored by IBR, developed the StaySafe application to meet IBR's design requirements. Major objectives of the project included developing the StaySafe app, saving research data (e.g., user selections, usage statistics, and user survey responses), and creating the version-publishing application. The KeepSafe software tool provides the researchers with sustainability, a means of publishing future versions of the application without further developer involvement.

IBR plans to first deploy the intervention in several Texas counties. StaySafe will record application interactions and selections from the user while they working their way through each of the sessions. This data will be transferred upon session completion to a secure central repository for analysis by the IBR.

With the IBR@'s research experience in the behavioral sciences and the MakeSafe team's software programming expertise, we hope to deliver an effective intervention that guides better decisions and reduces the risk of HIV infection among probationers supervised by the community corrections system.

Funding for this study was provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health (NIDA/NIH) through a grant to Texas Christian University (R01DA025885; Wayne E.K. Lehman, Principal Investigator).

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