Partnership is the key to the program’s success. Jail personnel notify the staff when a veteran arrives at the correctional facility.

Before Release
The inmate can contact the Veteran’s Incarcerated Program (VIP) to inquire about the program. VIP staff meets with the veteran to assess the veteran for addiction and mental health issues, including PTSD. The VIP staff may advocate for additional assessments to determine the appropriateness of inpatient or outpatient treatment services.

For veterans interested and eligible for the project, VIP staff will assist with developing a release plan and accompany the veteran to court to advocate for “sentence reduction” or “early release” for entry into a treatment program.

At Release
Upon release, VIP Staff assist the veteran with a wide variety of stabilizing services such as emergency financial assistance, mental health/trauma counseling, employment and skills training assistance, temporary housing, advocacy and other referral services. The Program provides a less expensive alternative to jail and the opportunity for each veteran to resume a productive life.

The VIP program addresses problems associated with the physical, emotional, economic, and social causes precipitating the incarceration of veterans. Homelessness, poverty, anger, substance abuse, and mental illness abound in this population. The Program will help veterans find solutions to these issues in order to return to a healthy, productive life in the community. The program also addresses the high cost of incarceration and high recidivism rate.

In many cases, incarceration is the direct result of an undiagnosed psychological problem. The VIP program refers veterans for compressive mental health evaluation and counseling. VA PSHCS psychologists diagnose mental health conditions such as bi-polar disorder, major depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, personality disorders, and schizophrenia, and treat veterans referred by the program.

Many incarcerated veterans have a duel diagnosis of substance abuse and mental illness. The program recognizes research showing drug/alcohol treatment often fails when the underlying mental health issues go untreated, and stresses the need to diagnose and treat both. Referring veterans to treatment under court control provides and additional incentive for the veteran to succeed. Poverty and homelessness are challenges.

The program will help veterans find and sustain housing and employment.