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Specialized Programming and Treatment Issues for Veterans in Jails and Prisons

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2021
56 pages

This report identifies and discusses issues that should be considered in establishing specialized programming for incarcerated veterans.


Of the number of people in jail or prison, it has been estimated that 8 percent served in the military. They are older than their civilian counterparts, and older veterans become involved with the justice system for the first time when they are facing a major age-related transition. They generally have higher rates of mental health disorders than civilian adults in the justice system. Homelessness is also a common factor among justice-involved veterans. Other health and treatment issues typically facing justice-involved veterans are discussed, along with the strengths provided from a military background. The section on veteran treatment programming addresses medication-assisted treatment for substance-use disorders, integrated treatment, treatment of female veterans, fostering partnerships, and trauma-informed programming. Post-incarceration transition services for veterans are discussed, with attention to employment, housing, family, and veteran treatment courts. Case examples are provided of current prison and jail programs for veterans, as well as tracking and measuring outcomes. 6 references and online access to resources and tools

Date Published: February 1, 2021