Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Sociology (Criminology Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Sociology

Committee Chair

Dr. Mark Heirigs

Commitee Members

Dr. Jackson Bunch (Sociology), Dr. Duncan Campbell (Psychology)


Veterans, Veteran Service Organizations, Recidivism, Stigma, Total Institutionalism


University of Montana


Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) exist throughout the United States and serve veterans, service members, dependents, and survivors. Some VSOs provide programming for veterans in their communities, such as job fairs, organizing fundraising events, raising awareness around the issues affecting veterans, assisting in the application process, and assisting in rehabilitation efforts. The American Legion specifically was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a 'patriotic veterans organization'. Since its conception, the Legion stands at nearly 2 million in membership, scattered throughout 13,000 posts worldwide. Most recent studies from the Justice of Bureau Statistics indicate that 8% of all incarcerated inmates are United States veterans. Many programs have been attempted to reduce recidivism among the general inmate population; fewer are initiated, specifically for justice-involved veterans. Veteran Health Affairs offers a program titled the Health Care for Reentry Veterans, many justice-involved veterans are ineligible to receive care. The project's overall goal is to outline how a partnership between the American Legion, the Veteran Health Affairs (VHA), and the State of Montana's Departments of Corrections (DOC) may reduce justice-involved veteran recidivism and improve correctional experiences in Montana's State Prison.



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