American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 426–442 | Cite as

An Examination of the Influence of Veteran Status on Offense Type Among an Inmate Sample

Article

Abstract

The current study examines the relationship between military service and criminal behavior of veterans, both combat and non-combat, compared to non-veterans using a nationally representative sample of inmates. Specifically, this study examines the relationship between veteran status and crime type among inmates in state and federal institutions. While the relationship between military service and criminal behavior of veterans has received considerable attention, many have failed to differentiate between veterans who have seen combat versus those who have not. Therefore, a subsample of veterans who experienced combat during their military service is examined to better inform our understanding how combat experience might influence this relationship. Multiple counterfactual methods, including propensity score matching, were used on data from the Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 2004. Some significant differences exist in the types of offenses committed based on veteran status and combat experience, but in some cases contrary to expectations. Veterans were more likely to have committed a violent offense, but less likely to have committed drug offenses; whereas, combat veterans were more likely to commit a drug offense and less likely to commit a violent offense than non-combat veterans. Policy implications and recommendations for future research are explored.

Keywords

Veteran Military Combat Offense type Propensity score matching 

References

  1. Apel, R. J., & Sweeten, G. (2010). Propensity score matching in criminology and criminal justice. In A. R. Piquero & D. Weisburd (Eds.), Handbook of Quantitative Criminology (543–562). New York: NY, Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Archer, D., & Gartner, R. (1976). Violent acts and violent times: A comparative approach to postwar homicide rates. American Sociological Review, 41, 937–963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnes, J. C., Beaver, K. M., & Miller, J. M. (2010). Estimating the effect of gang membership on nonviolent and violent delinquency: A counterfactual analysis. Aggressive Behavior, 36, 437-451.Google Scholar
  4. Beckham, J. C., Feldman, M. E., Kirby, A. C., Hertzberg, M. A., & Moore, S. D. (1997). Interpersonal violence and its correlates in Vietnam veterans with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 53(8), 859–869.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bouffard, L. A. (2005). Examining the relationship between military service and criminal behavior during the Vietnam era: A research note*. Criminology, 41, 491–510.Google Scholar
  6. Bouffard, L. A., & Laub, J. H. (2004). Jail or the army: Does military service facilitate desistance from crime. After crime and punishment: Pathways to offender reintegration, 129–151.Google Scholar
  7. Boulanger, G. (1986). Predisposition to posttraumatic stress disorder, in the Vietnam veterans redefined: Fact and fiction, Edited by Boulanger G, & Kadushin C. NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Hillsdale, 37–50.Google Scholar
  8. Bronson, J., Carson, A. and Noonan, M. (2015). Veterans in Prisons and Jail, 2011–2012. Bureau of Justice Statistics: Special Report, U.S Department of Justice: Washington. D.C.Google Scholar
  9. Brown, W. B. (2011). From war zones to jail: Veteran reintegration problems. Justice Policy Journal, 8, 1–30.Google Scholar
  10. Cartwright, T. (2011). To care for him who shall have borne the battle: The recent development of veterans treatment courts in America. Stanford Law & Policy Review, 22, 295–316.Google Scholar
  11. Culp, R., Youstin, T. J., Englander, K., & Lynch, J. (2013). From war to prison: Examining the relationship between military services and criminal activity. Justice Quarterly, 30, 651–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Elbogen, E. B., Wagner, H. R., Fuller, S. R., Calhoun, P. S., Kinneer, P. M., & Beckham, J. C. (2010). Correlates of anger and hostility in Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 167(9), 1051–1058.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Elder, G. H. (1998). The life course as developmental theory. Child Development, 69(1), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Erlinder, P. (1984). Paying the price for Vietnam: Post-traumatic stress disorder and criminal conduct. Boston College Law Review, 25, 305–347.Google Scholar
  15. Frederick, A. (2014). Veterans treatment courts: Analysis and recommendations. Law & Psychology Review, 38, 211–230.Google Scholar
  16. Goffman, E. (1961). Asylums: Essays on the social situation of mental patients and other inmates. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  17. Glen H. Elder, Glen H. Elder, (1986) Military times and turning points in men's lives. Developmental Psychology 22(2), 233–245Google Scholar
  18. Greenberg, G. A., & Rosenheck, R. A. (2005). Special section on the GAF: Continuity of care and clinical outcomes in a national health system. Psychiatric Services, 56(4), 427–433.Google Scholar
  19. Greenberg, G. A., & Rosenheck, R. A. (2011). Incarceration among male veterans: Relative risk of imprisonment and differences between veteran and nonveteran inmates. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 56, 646–667.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Guo, S., & Fraser, M. W. (2010). Propensity Score Analysis: Statistical Methods and Analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  21. Hawkins, M. D. (2010). Coming home: Accommodating the special needs of military veterans to the criminal justice system. Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, 7, 563–573.Google Scholar
  22. Hoge, C. W., Castro, C. A., Messer, S. C., McGurk, D., Cotting, D. I., & Koffman, R. L. (2004). Combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, mental health problems, and barriers to care. New England Journal of Medicine, 351(1), 13–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Killgore, W. D., Cotting, D. I., Thomas, J. L., Cox, A. L., McGurk, D., Vo, A. H., & Hoge, C. W. (2008). Post-combat invincibility: Violent combat experiences are associated with increased risk-taking propensity following deployment. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 42(13), 1112–1121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kulka, R. A., Schlenger, W. E., Fairbank, J. A., Hough, R. L., Jordan, B. K., Marmar, C. R., & Weiss, D. S. (1990). Trauma and the Vietnam war generation: Report of findings from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study. Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  25. Laub, J. H., & Sampson, R. J. (1993). Turning points in the life course: Why change matters to the study of crime. Criminology, 31, 301–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Laub, J. H., & Sampson, R. J. (1995). Crime and context in the lives of 1,000 Boston men circa 1925–1955. In Z. S. Blau & J. Hagan (Eds.), Current perspectives on aging and the life cycle: Delinquency and disrepute in the life course, Vol 4 (pp. 119–139). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press Inc..Google Scholar
  27. Laufer, R. S., Yager, T., Frey-Wouters, E., & Donnellan, J. (1981). Legacies of Vietnam, Vol. III: Post-war trauma: social and psychological problems of Vietnam veterans and their peers. Washington (DC): US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  28. Ling, G., Bandak, F., Armonda, R., Grant, G., & Ecklund, J. (2009). Explosive blast neurotrauma. Journal of Neurotrauma, 26(6), 815–825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. MacLean, A., & Elder, G. H. (2007). Military service in the life course. Sociology, 33(1), 175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McGuire, J., Rosenheck, R. A., & Kasprow, W. J. (2003). Health status, service use, and costs among veterans receiving outreach services in jail or community settings. Psychiatric Services, 54(2), 201–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McGuire, J., Clark, S., Blue-Howells, J., & Coe, C. (2013). An inventory of VA involvement in veterans courts, dockets and tracks. Alexandria, VA: Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Justice Programs.Google Scholar
  32. Morris, R. G., & Piquero, A. R. (2013). For whom do sanctions deter and label? Justice Quarterly, 30, 837–868.Google Scholar
  33. Mumola, C. J. (2000). Veterans in prison or jail. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, NCJ 178888.Google Scholar
  34. National Council on Disibility. (2009). Invisible Wounds: Serving service members and veterans with PTSD and TBI. Washington, D.C: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).Google Scholar
  35. Orrick, E. A., & Morris, R. G. (2015). Do parole technical violators pose a safety threat? An analysis of prison misconduct. Crime & Delinquency, 61, 1027–1050.Google Scholar
  36. Rohlfs, C. (2010). Does combat exposure make you a more violent or criminal person? Evidence from the Vietnam draft. The Journal of Human Resources, 45(2), 271–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Russell (2009). Veterans treatment court: A proactive approach. Crime and Civil Confinement., 35(357), 357–372.Google Scholar
  38. Sampson, R. J., & Laub, J. H. (1996). Socioeconomic achievement in the life course of disadvantaged men: Military service as a turning point, circa 1940–1965. American Sociological Review, 61, 347–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sampson, R. J., & Laub, J. H. (2003). Life-course Desisters? Trajectories of crime among delinquent boys followed to age 70*. Criminology, 41, 555–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Seal, K. H., Bertenthal, D., Miner, C. R., Sen, S., & Marmar, C. (2007). Bringing the war back home: Mental health disorders among 103 788 US veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seen at Department of Veterans Affairs Facilities. Archives of Internal Medicine, 167(5), 476–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sparr, L. F., Reaves, M. E., & Atkinson, R. M. (1987). Military combat, posttraumatic stress disorder, and criminal behavior in Vietnam veterans. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, 15(2), 141–162.Google Scholar
  42. United States Department of Justice. Bureau of Justice Statistics (2004). Survey of inmates in state and Federal Correctional Facilities, ICPSR. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. doi: 10.3886/ICPSR04572.v1.Google Scholar
  43. Walls, S. (2010). The need for special veterans courts. Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, 39, 695–729.Google Scholar
  44. Warr, M. (1998). Life-course transitions and desistance from crime*. Criminology, 36(2), 183–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. White, M. D., Mulvey, P., Fox., A. M., & Choate, D. (2012). A hero’s welcome? Exploring the prevalence and problems of military veterans in the arrestee population. Justice Quarterly, 29, 258–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Willbach, H. (1948). Recent crimes and the veterans. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 501–508.Google Scholar
  47. Wright, J. P., Carter, D. E., & Cullen, F. T. (2005). A life-course analysis of military service in Vietnam. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 42(1), 55–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminal Justice & CriminologySam Houston State UniversityHuntsvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations