Veterans Suffering From PTSD Are Being Swept Into Legal System

Those concerned with veterans’ affairs may take an interest in the issue of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who are getting swept up into the nation’s legal system. Around 10 percent of individuals who are incarcerated at any given time are estimated to be veterans. Many of those are suffering from PTSD, substance abuse issues and/or mental illness.

Veterans Justice Outreach Initiative

In the wake of these troubling statistics, several national treatment programs and initiatives have sprung up to try to prevent the incarceration of veterans whenever possible. One such initiative was begun by the VA, called the “Veterans Justice Outreach Initiative.” The program is based on a sequential intercept model that attempts to reach veterans before, during and after their involvement with the justice system. Specialists reach out to incarcerated veterans prior to conviction and continue their work with veterans when they are released. In addition to their work with veterans, the specialists provide education to probation officers, court personnel and law enforcement regarding available treatment options for veterans available through the VA system.

Veteran Treatment Court

Another VA initiative is a Veterans Treatment Court that focuses mainly on non-violent crimes. Through the treatment court, veterans engage in active treatment for issues of substance abuse and mental illness as an alternative to incarceration. These programs are related to the issue of PTSD because research and field experience have shown that an increasing number of veterans in jail are suffering from PTSD. Additionally, a large number of these also have substance abuse issues. If veterans are engaged in treatment, there is a possibility that the personal cost to veterans and their families may be reduced.

Veterans who are suffering from the effects of PTSD may find it difficult to engage in the normal activities of daily living, hindering their ability to work. A Nebraska attorney with a background in veterans’ affairs may be able to obtain compensation and benefits for veterans whose PTSD negatively affects their daily life.

Source: Corrections, “Veterans With PTSD Caught in The System“, Dr. Reba Glidewell, July 29, 2013.