Cover: Estimating the Lifetime Prevalence of Incarceration in the U.S. Veteran Population

Estimating the Lifetime Prevalence of Incarceration in the U.S. Veteran Population

Published in: Population Research and Policy Review, Volume 42, Article Number 88 (2023). doi: 10.1007/s11113-023-09841-8

Posted on rand.org Nov 27, 2023

by Jack Tsai, Robert H. Pietrzak, Stephanie Brooks Holliday, Shoba Sreenivasan

This brief report estimates the lifetime prevalence of incarceration among U.S. military veterans using data from three nationally representative U.S. samples: the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study (NHRVS; n = 4069), the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III (NESARC-III; n = 3119 veterans, and the National Veteran Homeless and Other Poverty Experiences (NV-HOPE; n = 1004). Across the three surveys, 3.5–10.6% (weighted mean = 9.8%) of U.S. veterans reported they had been incarcerated some time in their lives for an average of 16.7 to 45.6 months (weighted mean = 42.4). Among black veterans, the lifetime prevalence of incarceration ranged from 2.9 to 10.6% (weighted mean = 13.4%) and among white veterans, the lifetime prevalence of incarceration ranged from 3.5 to 14.6% (weighted mean = 9.7%). These contemporary estimates of incarceration among U.S. veterans highlight racial disparities and the extent of incarceration in this population, which may influence access to employment, housing, and healthcare.

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