Veterans Treatment Court Impact on Veteran Mental Health and Life Satisfaction
Linda M. Montgomery, Ph.D; James N. Olson, Ph.D.

After discharge from the military, veterans may experience significant readjustment stress, including involvement with the criminal justice system. For veterans who find themselves in the criminal justice system, the Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) offers a pre-trial diversion program rather than incarceration. In 2016, the 285th District Court in Midland Texas began accepting veterans in theirnew VTC. Participation involved mental health and/or substance use treatment, attending mentoring groups, and employment.Over 18 months, 29 Veterans were invited to participate in the VTC; 26 entered the program, and of these, 16 successfully completed the program (graduated); 3 were discharged due to continued arrests, substance use, or failure to show for services. A battery of mental health and life satisfaction questionnaires were administered upon entry, 6 months, and 1 year. For Veterans who graduated, the PCL-5 and DASS-21 showed reducedPTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety, and stress. Furthermore, the number of Veterans scoring in the normal range of symptoms on the PCL-5 and DASS-21 increased after 6 months. Graduates exhibited greater life satisfaction, social support, and psychological well-being, andhad no interaction with law enforcement. It was suggested that peer restoration components of VTC programs are vital for success.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jpbs.v6n1a1