Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Melanie Otis


Military veterans are disproportionately represented in United States (U.S.) jails and prisons, with nearly 10% of current inmates being veterans. Veterans’ criminal justice involvement is often precipitated by underlying mental health and substance abuse that are connected to their military service. Veterans’ treatment courts are the judicial response to a need for more coordinated provision of mental health and substance abuse services to veterans involved in the criminal justice system. Modeled after drug courts and mental health courts, veterans treatment courts are a judicial innovation that aim to honor the service of veterans by providing them an alternative to incarceration. There are currently 551 veterans’ treatment courts in 42 states throughout country, including five in Kentucky.

This exploratory descriptive study uses Andersen’s healthcare utilization model and a social control theoretical perspective as a framework to examine veterans’ treatment court outcomes from a sample of participants (N=58) in Kentucky. Univariate and bivariate analyses were used to provide a description of the sample and to examine relationships between personal characteristics and during-program occurrences and the outcomes of program completion and criminal recidivism. The findings of this study indicate that gender, sanctions, drug screens, and treatment sessions each have a significant association with program completion, and both age and housing status have a significant association with recidivism. Findings for each outcome variable are discussed, along with possible explanations, as well as limitations of the study, implications of this research for social work practice, and suggestions for future research.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

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Social Work Commons