Between 12,000 and 16,000 veterans leave incarceration every year. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care for Reentry Veterans program links recently-released veterans to VA and community healthcare services. But many of these veterans fall through the cracks or are unable to get long-term support — putting them at high risk of homelessness, substance use disorder relapse, worsened mental health, and recidivism.
A new study, co-authored by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers, identifies some of the gaps in the process of connecting recently released veterans with these services in Massachusetts. It finds that reentry programs lack systematic means of identifying incarcerated veterans ahead of release and staying connected with them afterwards, while veterans themselves lack information about these support services.
Published in the journal Health & Justice, the study is a formative part of the Post-Incarceration Engagement (PIE) project. Led by BUSPH researchers at the VA Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR), Bedford/Boston, the project is developing a peer-support system to help veterans transition out of incarceration.Friday Letter Submission