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Justice-Involved Veterans and Employment: A Systematic Review of Barriers and Promising Strategies and Interventions

"To better serve justice-involved Veterans, VA [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] developed services through Veterans Justice Programs (VJP), including Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) and Health Care for Reentry Veterans (HCRV). These services and programs are intended to help ease the transition from incarceration to the community, including developing linkages to vocational training and employment opportunities for justice-involved Veterans. The services and programs may also address the personal, social and economic costs associated with incarceration. Even with these services and programs, justice-involved Veterans continue to face substantial barriers to employment, including the barriers related to a criminal record and educational and vocational deficits. To support these efforts to return justice-involved Veterans to the workforce, this review synthesizes research relevant to: (1) the employment needs and barriers for justice-involved Veterans, (2) assessment tools that can identify employment-related needs and job-readiness, and (3) effective or promising interventions or strategies for addressing employment barriers. This synthesis of the research on employment barriers and associated interventions can help to inform those developing and striving to improve programs for justice-involved Veterans seeking to secure employment. Ultimately, employment may reduce recidivism as well as serve to enhance overall quality of life, such as reducing homelessness" (p. 9). Results are presented following an executive summary that cover: what the employment needs and barriers are for justice-involved veterans; assessment tools that can be used to identify employment-related needs and job-readiness for justice-involved veterans; and what are the effective or promising employment-focused strategies and interventions for justice-involved veterans.