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Military Discipline and the Incarcerated Veteran

  • Evan R. Seamone
Chapter

Abstract

A primary reason for the success of Veterans Treatment Courts is their ability to link justice-involved veterans to countless benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans who were discharged under honorable conditions may enjoy healthcare, disability compensation, vouchers for rent, the G.I. Bill, or vocational rehabilitation that includes college tuition. However, veterans who have other-than honorable or punitive discharges based upon offenses while in the military have far fewer options. Many times, military offenses are linked to untreated symptoms related to honest and faithful military service. The comparative lack of federal resources for “bad paper” veterans is particularly concerning in the criminal justice system because research is increasingly demonstrating that these veterans are at far greater risk of arrest, incarceration, and the other factors that contribute to criminal involvement, such as homelessness and substance dependence. This chapter describes recent developments in the Department of Defense (DoD) that offer new hope to incarcerated bad paper veterans. Beginning in 2014, the DoD took a bold and long overdue step of explicitly recognizing the connection between military trauma and military misconduct. By 2017, DoD articulated factors to consider in evaluating a “bad paper” discharge with allowances for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, other mental health conditions, military sexual assault, and sexual harassment. These new standards apply equally to veterans who have never requested discharge upgrades and those denied upgrades in years prior. With knowledge of these new standards, corrections professionals can offer new opportunities for veterans to improve their lives upon release.

Keywords

“Bad Paper” Discharge upgrades VA benefits Military justice Other-than-honorable Discharge review boards Boards of correction 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evan R. Seamone
    • 1
  1. 1.Veterans Benefits Attorney, Loxley Services, and Major, U.S. Army ReserveGainesvilleUSA

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