Mental Health and Other Risk Factors for Jail
Incarceration Among Male Veterans
Greg A. Greenberg Æ Robert A. Rosenheck
Published online: 28 January 2009
Ó GovernmentEmployee: Department of Veterans Affairs 2009
Abstract Data derived from the 2002 Survey of Inmates in Local Jails and the 2000
National Survey of Veterans show that having mental health problems in addition to such
sociodemographic characteristics as being a member of a minority group, not being
married, having less education, and being younger are risk factors for incarceration among
veterans, as they are for the general population. As in previous studies veterans who served
during the Vietnam Era and to an even greater extent, those who served in the early years
of the All Volunteer Force were at greater risk of incarceration than veterans from the most
recent period of the AVF, after controlling for age and other factors.
Keywords Veterans Á Mental health Á Incarceration Á Sociodemographic Á
Recent decades have seen dramatic increases in incarceration in the United States [1–5].
Studies of the general U.S. population have identiﬁed key risk factors for incarceration
including being young, male, of minority ethnicity, having low income, being unemployed,
limited education or having a substance abuse problems [1, 2, 6–12]. There has been
particular concern about the risk of incarceration among U.S. military veterans [13–21].
Such concern is driven by the large numbers of veterans currently incarcerated, an esti-
mated 140,000 in state and federal prisons in 2004  and 58,761 in jails in 2002 ,
and apprehension that combat, for example recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan,
may increase risk of incarceration [14, 23–26].
G. A. Greenberg (&) Á R. A. Rosenheck
Research, Education and Clinical Center, VA New England Mental Illness, 950 Campbell Ave,
West Haven, CT 06516, USA
G. A. Greenberg Á R. A. Rosenheck
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Epidemiology and Public Health, New Haven,
Psychiatr Q (2009) 80:41–53