Veteran Totals In Prisons, Jails Decline; Many Have Mental Disorders


About 181,500 U.S. prison and jail inmates in 2011-12 had served in the U.S. military, down from about 206,500 in 20014, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics said today. The 2011-12 breakdown was 131,500 in state and federal prisons, and 50,000 in local jails.veterans). The total 2011-12 incarceration rate of veterans was lower than the rate for nonveterans. Nearly two-thirds of veterans in prison (64 percent) were sentenced for a violent offense compared to about half (52 percent) of nonveterans.

Veterans tended to be serving longer sentences than nonveterans. More veterans (16 percent) in prison were serving life sentences than nonveterans (14 percent). Fewer veterans (17 percent) in prison than nonveterans (21 percent) were serving sentences of less than 4 years. About half of veterans in prison (48 percent) and jail (55 percent) had ever been told by a mental health professional they had a mental disorder. Incarcerated veterans who saw combat were more likely than noncombat veterans to have ever been told they had a mental disorder. Twice the proportion of veterans compared to nonveterans in prison (23 percent of veterans and 11 percent of nonveterans) and jail (31 percent of veterans and 15 percent of nonveterans) reported that a mental health professional had ever told them they had post-traumatic stress disorder.

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