Review of the Veterans Administration's Services to Incarcerated Veterans

HRD-79-97: Published: Jun 29, 1979. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 1979.

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Since 1974 the Veterans Administration (VA) has increased its outreach effort in terms of the number of penal facilities visited to counsel veterans on their benefits.

Although some federal and state prisons were not visited in 1978, veterans were more aware of their benefits and are using them more than in 1974. However, the outreach program still needs improvement. Supervision of VA counselors was virtually nonexistent, regional outreach efforts varied, and coordination among VA and other groups making outreach visits to prisons could be improved. Efforts are being made to contract for disseminating information to prison officials through the American Correctional Association, a professional association of prison officials.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of Veterans Affairs should direct VA regional offices to: (1) identify the number and location of incarcerated veterans within their jurisdictions and target their efforts to reach the greatest possible number; (2) provide appropriate supervision of VA representatives conducting the outreach effort; and (3) identify the non-VA groups visiting prisons to counsel on veterans' benefits, and coordinate with these groups. To ensure that correct information is relayed to veterans, counselors from these groups should be briefed and their literature reviewed by VA. The Administrator should also direct that: (1) guidelines be revised to provide for briefings to probation and parole officers and appropriate organizations; (2) copies of the VA brochure developed specifically for incarcerated veterans be mailed periodically to every federal, state, and major local penal facility; and (3) reporting on this outreach effort be improved to provide more relevant information and to permit evaluations of the effort at both the regional and national levels.

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