Criminal justice involvement among veterans

Daniel M. Blonigen, Christopher M. King, Christine Timko

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Military veterans make up 8% of the total incarcerated population in the US, and many more veterans are involved in some stage of the criminal justice system. This chapter provides an overview of the extant literature on criminal justice involvement among veterans, with a focus on key differences between justice-involved veterans and their civilian counterparts. Compared to non-veterans, veterans have a lower rate of incarceration, but are more likely to have committed a violent offense. Across multiple contexts, there is a strong association between substance use and mental health problems and justice involvement in veterans, and some evidence that such problems are more common for incarcerated veterans than nonveterans. Research on recidivism risk among justice-involved veterans remains limited, though there are ongoing studies to understand criminogenic risk factors and the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral interventions for recidivism risk in this population. Regarding the impact of justice involvement on employment, lack of education or vocational skills may not be as prominent of a barrier to employment for justice-involved veterans as other justice-involved adults. Conversely, the competing needs associated with mental illness and homelessness may serve as key barriers to employment in the veteran population.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntersections between Mental Health and Law among Veterans
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9783030316648
ISBN (Print)9783030316631
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Crime
  • Incarceration
  • Mental health
  • Recidivism
  • Risk
  • Substance use
  • Veterans


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