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Embedding a Co-occurring Disorders Rehabilitation Intervention in Veterans Courts: A Pilot Study with Male Veterans

  • Smelson, David A.
  • Gaba, Ayorkor
  • Pressman, Karen
  • Clary, Kelsey M.
  • Shaffer, Paige M.
  • Pinals, Debra A.
Publication Date
Jan 31, 2020
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Veterans treatment courts (VTCs) have expanded dramatically despite their limited empirical base. This pilot study examined MISSION-Criminal Justice (CJ), a co-occurring disorders wraparound intervention, delivered alongside two VTCs. Baseline data from 26 male veterans enrolled in two VTCs and MISSION-CJ, and 6-month follow-up data for 18 of the 26 veterans, are presented. Veterans on average were 37.5 years old, 85% Caucasian, had significant histories of criminal justice involvement (14.3 lifetime arrests), had an average of 14.7 years of alcohol use and 9.3 years of illicit drug use, and roughly three-quarters reported mental health symptomatology. At 6-month follow-up, veterans demonstrated improvements in behavioral health, substance use, and criminal justice outcomes. This study demonstrated promising preliminary outcomes of MISSION-CJ in VTCs. A randomized controlled trial is a critical next step to examine whether these outcomes remain consistent with a more rigorous design.

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