Service Use and Outcomes for Veterans and Non-Veterans after Release from Jail in Three Cities
Sites Involved: University of South Florida, Philadelphia, PA, Los Angeles, CA
Federal Agency involvement: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Administrative Data Sources: Criminal Justice Records, Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Records, Public Assistance Records, Public Health and Mental Health Provider Records, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Records (from multiple VA administrative data sources)
External Funding: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Military Veterans make up about nine percent of the US jail and prison population. This study looks at groups of Veterans and non-Veterans recently released from incarceration to understand whether access to Veterans’ services improves outcomes such as lower rates of re-incarceration, lower rates of homelessness, and higher levels of engagement with services. Incarcerated Veterans, like their non-Veteran counterparts, face substantial challenges when they are released from jail or prison and subsequently must confront the challenges of re-entering society. Furthermore, persons exiting jail continue to use substantial amounts of public criminal justice, social service, and health care resources. Veterans, however, have access to a range of services available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that include programs focusing on justice-involved Veterans; housing and homelessness-related services; health and behavioral health services; and benefits. These services represent unique opportunities for Veterans that are not available to the rest of this re-entering population. This study considers groups of individuals as they are released from jail or prison and enter the community in three cities – Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Tampa. Analyses use administrative records from an array of sources (including the VA) to examine a series of post-release outcomes to assess whether or not Veterans who access VA services have better outcomes in such areas as re-incarceration, homelessness, and services engagement.