National Conference on Veterans & the Criminal Justice System


The reintegration of Veterans into civilian life upon return from war has not been an easy one. The military and civilian culture are at odds with each other which has led to an increase in our War Heroes falling pray to the Criminal Justice System.

This is a very important topic to me because it is my Masters Essay topic!

The essay focuses on the lack of adequate policy responses and the marginalization of Disabled Veterans, a group who many view as a privileged class in America. This group has experienced marginalization in several arenas including the work force. I argue that this has led to an increase in their interactions with the Criminal Justice system. I argue in favor of the Combination Theory which states that unemployment, mental health Issues and substance abuse create the environment for sending Veterans into the Criminal Justice System. Although several public service programs have been developed to support this group, non-veterans continue to be better off than veterans in the work force and 1 in every 10 inmates in the United States are Veterans. The public policies geared toward helping this group are not addressing the issue. The issue can’t be defined without first consulting the group that is affected and is further reaching than receiving funds from the GI Bill. The responses by key economic and political systems to the effects of military service on Veterans cannot be ignored. My research incorporates primary sources from disabled veterans and their experience with transitioning back into civil society in areas such as the job market, the criminal justice system and treatment facilities. I also examine existing literature on veteran’s courts, the impact of Obama’s Vow to Hire Heroes Act on unemployment and the Department of Veteran Affairs’ approach to treatment of disabled veterans.

It seems that the political climate is ripe for this issue to get on the political agenda!

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