This is the abstract of a research project funded by the National Institute of Justice that examined both the implementation and effectiveness of eight Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs), which emerged as an effort to address a particular constellation of needs characterizing veterans who have become involved in the criminal justice system due to the intertwined problems of crime, mental illness, trauma, and substance misuse among veterans.
VTCs are a type of problemsolving court program that targets persons with a history of military service (military veterans and those still active) who are in contact with the criminal justice system. The purpose of VTCs is to address participants’ distinctive needs and the underlying causes of the criminal behavior through services and treatment, as well as effective supervision. There are now just over 600 VTCs and veteran-focused court programs in most U.S. states. The current study conducted an evaluation of eight VTCs in a comprehensive multisite effort to address four general research questions: 1) What are the structures of the VTC program? 2) What are the policies and procedures of the VTC programs? 3) What populations are the VTCs serving? 4) What are the basic program and participant outcomes? Outcomes examined include graduation and termination rates, as well as recidivism in terms of self-reported arrests. The eight research sites are in Florida, North Carolina, and Texas. Research methods are described.