A National Survey of Veterans Treatment Court Actors



Luna, Samantha

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Over 400 Veterans Treatments Courts (VTCs) have been implemented in the U.S. in the past 10 years (Flatley, Clark, Rosenthal, & Blue-Howells, 2017). During this time controversies surrounding VTCs have emerged (Yerramsetti, Simons, Connan & Stolar, 2017). For example, some VTCs exclude veterans who have committed violent offenses, which has sparked debate (Cartwright, 2011; Kravetz, 2012). Another controversy surrounds requiring a direct relationship between a veteran’s charges and mental health diagnosis (Yerramsetti et al., 2017). This aim of this thesis was to examine VTC actors’ perceptions of these two controversial issues via a national survey. VTC judges, coordinators, and Veterans Justice Outreach specialists were presented with two randomly assigned hypothetical clients in a 2 (Crime type: involuntary manslaughter and domestic violence) x 2 (Diagnosis: post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol use disorder) within-subjects’ factorial design and asked for their perceptions of hypothetical clients’ eligibility for VTC. Participants were also asked their perceptions of controversial VTC issues and to describe the current practices of the VTCs they work with. Results indicated that participants were supportive of the domestic violence client’s participation in VTC, regardless of diagnosis, however most participants were not supportive of the involuntary manslaughter clients’ participation in VTC. Implications future research and policy are discussed.



Veterans, Specialty courts, Violent crime, Eligibility