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A National Study of Veterans Treatment Court Participants: Who Benefits and Who Recidivates

  • Jack Tsai
  • Andrea Finlay
  • Bessie Flatley
  • Wesley J. Kasprow
  • Sean Clark
Original Article

Abstract

Although there are now over 400 veterans treatment courts (VTCs) in the country, there have been few studies on participant outcomes in functional domains. Using national data on 7931 veterans in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Justice Outreach program across 115 VA sites who entered a VTC from 2011 to 2015, we examined the housing, employment, income, and criminal justice outcomes of VTC participants; and identified veteran characteristics predictive of outcomes. VTC participants spent an average of nearly a year in the program and 14% experienced a new incarceration. From program admission to exit, 10% more participants were in their own housing, 12% more were receiving VA benefits, but only 1% more were employed. Controlling for background characteristics, a history of incarceration predicted poor criminal justice, housing, and employment outcomes. Participants with property offenses or probation/parole violations and those with substance use disorders were more likely to experience a new incarceration. Participants with more mental health problems were more likely to be receiving VA benefits and less likely to be employed at program exit. Together, these findings highlight the importance of proper substance abuse treatment as well as employment services for VTC participants so that they can benefit from the diversion process.

Keywords

Treatment courts Veterans Homelessness Criminal justice Incarceration 

Notes

Funding

No specific funding was provided for this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare they have no conflicts of interest with this work.

Disclosures

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the U.S. government or any federal agency.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New England Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical CenterVeterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare SystemWest HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Center for Innovation to ImplementationVeterans Affairs Palo Alto Healthcare SystemMenlo ParkUSA
  4. 4.National Center on Homelessness Among VeteransDepartment of Veterans AffairsMenlo ParkUSA
  5. 5.Veterans Justice ProgramsVeterans Health AdministrationPhiladelphiaUSA
  6. 6.National Center on Homelessness Among VeteransDepartment of Veterans AffairsPhiladelphiaUSA
  7. 7.Veterans Affairs Northeast Program Evaluation CenterWest HavenUSA
  8. 8.Veterans Justice ProgramsVeterans Health AdministrationLexingtonUSA

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