Date of Award

5-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Comments

Submitted to the College of Graduate Studies Bridgewater State University Bridgewater, Massachusetts In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Degree Program

Criminal Justice

Degree Type

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Abstract

United States military veterans are a special population of men and women that have willingly sacrificed their lives to serve their country. They are perceived to be patriotic, honorable, strong, and disciplined people. Unfortunately, veterans are not exempt from committing criminal acts that land them in the criminal justice system. In fact, veterans are highly susceptible to developing mental illnesses and substance use disorders which can ultimately lead to criminal behavior. The purpose of this study was to examine to what extent available resources are provided to veterans to help them prevent contact with the criminal justice system. This study used a mixed methods approach to identify themes in quantitative survey responses which asked veteran respondents about their history with substance use, mental health disorders, and criminal involvement. Respondents provided information on treatment court participation and spoke on their experiences before, during, and after court participation. This study found mentorship and mental health counseling were effective resources for veterans. This study highlights potential barriers veterans face when seeking help. Future research and policy recommendations are discussed.

Committee/Advisor(s)

Dr. Jennifer Hartsfield, Chair

Dr. Mia Ortiz, Member

Dr. Feodor Gostjev, Member

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