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A Process & Impact Evaluation of the Veterans Moving Forward: Best Practices, Outcomes, and Cost-Effectiveness, United States, 2015-2016

Metadata Updated: November 28, 2023

In 2014, the San Diego Association of Governments applied for and received funding from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to conduct a process and impact evaluation of the Veterans Moving Forward (VMF) program that was created by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department in partnership with the San Diego Veterans Administration (VA) in 2013. VMF is a veteran-only housing unit for male inmates who have served in the U.S. military. When the grant was written, experts in the field had noted that the population of veterans returning to the U.S. with numerous mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and depression, were increasing and as a result, the number of veterans incarcerated in jails and prisons was also expected to increase. While numerous specialized courts for veterans had been implemented across the country at the time, veteran-specific housing units for those already sentenced to serve time in custody were rarer and no evaluations of these units had been published. Since this evaluation grant was awarded, the number of veteran-only housing units has increased, demonstrating the need for more evaluation information regarding lessons learned. A core goal when creating VMF was to structure an environment for veterans to draw upon the positive aspects of their shared military culture, create a safe place for healing and rehabilitation, and foster positive peer connections. There are several components that separate VMF from traditional housing with the general population that relate to the overall environment, the rehabilitative focus, and initiation of reentry planning as early as possible. These components include the selection of correctional staff with military backgrounds and an emphasis on building on their shared experience and connecting through it; a less restrictive and more welcoming environment that includes murals on the walls and open doors; no segregation of inmates by race/ethnicity; incentives including extended dayroom time and use of a microwave and coffee machine (under supervision); mandatory rehabilitative programming that focuses on criminogenic and other underlying risks and needs or that are quality of life focused, such as yoga, meditation, and art; a VMF Counselor who is located in the unit to provide one-on-one services to clients, as well as provide overall program management on a day-to-day basis; the regular availability of VA staff in the unit, including linkages to staff knowledgeable about benefits and other resources available upon reentry; and the guidance and assistance of a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) to support reentry transition for individuals needing additional assistance. The general criteria for housing in this veteran module includes: (1) not being at a classification level above a four, which requires a maximum level of custody; (2) not having less than 30 days to serve in custody; (3) no state or federal prison holds and/or prison commitments; (4) no fugitive holds; (5) no prior admittance to the psychiatric security unit or a current psychiatric hold; (6) not currently a Post-Release Community Supervision Offender serving a term of flash incarceration; (7) not in custody for a sex-related crime or requirement to register per Penal Code 290; (8) no specialized housing requirements including protective custody, administration segregation, or medical segregation; and (9) no known significant disciplinary incidents.

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Restricted: This dataset can only be accessed or used under certain conditions. License: us-pd

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Metadata Created Date August 18, 2021
Metadata Updated Date November 28, 2023

Metadata Source

Harvested from DOJ JSON

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date August 18, 2021
Metadata Updated Date November 28, 2023
Publisher National Institute of Justice
Identifier 2957
Data First Published 2020-01-30T08:53:43
Language eng
Data Last Modified 2020-01-30T09:23:12
Rights These data are restricted due to the increased risk of violation of confidentiality of respondent and subject data.
Public Access Level restricted public
Bureau Code 011:21
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id eefbe290-d561-45cd-aefc-301bb79d9d6c
Harvest Source Id 3290e90a-116f-42fc-86ac-e65521ef3b68
Harvest Source Title DOJ JSON
Program Code 011:060
Publisher Hierarchy Office of Justice Programs > National Institute of Justice
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash c767aff79f6d9bade2e920b72a0db5cfeab6edda62bc3b7211ef66d9e8a09ff8
Source Schema Version 1.1

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