An Alternative to Incarceration: Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment Intervention for Justice-Involved Veterans

Veterans’ Treatment Court

An Alternative to Incarceration: Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment Intervention for Justice-Involved Veterans

December 1, 2015

ABSTRACT: This article reports on the implementation, evaluation, and policy implications of MISSION-Criminal Justice (CJ), an innovative intervention used to treat justice-involved veterans with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders (CODs). In this pilot feasibility study, MISSION-CJ was embedded into four Massachusetts courts and their probation services as an alternative to incarceration. Seventy-six veterans were diverted from jail to MISSION-CJ and completed intake and six-month follow-up assessments. The MISSION-CJ participants were primarily white, had at least two prior arrests, served in a war combat zone, had a trauma before age 18, and had previously received mental health and substance use treatments. Preliminary six-month follow-up data suggested that the MISSION-CJ participants showed improvements in COD problems, trauma symptoms, and a nonsignificant reduction in hospitalization/ER visits. MISSION-CJ was feasible to implement and seemed to show some preliminary program success. A randomized controlled trial of MISSION-CJ is a necessary next step in determining program efficacy. Policy implications for tailoring interventions for justice-involved veterans such as MISSION-CJ and their delivery alongside the court and probation are discussed.

DOI: 10.1002/wmh3.168

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Print
Publication Type: 
Peer-reviewed article
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