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On any given day, veterans account for nine of every hundred individuals in U.S. jails and prisons (Noonan & Mumola, 2007; Greenberg & Rosenheck,2008). Although veterans are not overrepresented in the justice system as compared to their proportion in the United States general adult population, the unmet mental health service needs of justice-involved veterans are of growing concern as more veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) return home with combat stress exposure resulting in high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. This report is intended to bring these issues into clear focus and to provide local behavioral health and criminal justice systems with strategies for working with justice-involved combat veterans, especially those who served in OEF/OIF.

Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are presenting in large numbers with serious mental health needs. Chairman Akaka addresses this concern and the role of the Department of Veterans Affairs in caring for those in need of mental health services.

This Green paper was developed to summarize national and state statistics on OIF/OEF returning veterans and their families, their needs, the current services and supports available, identified gaps, and the Team’s action plan to address their priority needs.