involved in killing enemy soldiers, prisoners, or civilians and to have flashbacks of those events. The author attributed their incarceration, however, to having been poor prospects with respect to their social, economic, and interpersonal well-being before being sent to Vietnam.

Summary and Conclusions

The two primary studies, one of Gulf War veterans and one of Vietnam veterans, found that exposure to heavy combat increased the likelihood of being incarcerated after release from military service. However, veterans who were deployed but did not experience heavy combat were less likely to be incarcerated than those exposed to heavy combat and were not any more likely to be incarcerated than nondeployed veterans. The secondary studies, conducted mainly with Vietnam veterans, were mixed and tended to show that having a psychiatric disorder increased the risk of a veteran being incarcerated.

The committee concludes that there is limited but suggestive evidence of an association between deployment to a war zone and later incarceration.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement