From American Service to Disservice: An Exploration of the Impact of Military Experience among an Incarcerated Population

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Brooke, Erika
Crime; military service; corrections
thesis / dissertation description
This dissertation research examines the impact of military service among an incarcerated population. It addresses the gaps identified within the prior literature by taking a closer look at the association between service experience and criminal justice outcomes. Specifically, the present study explores whether branch type, combat exposure, age of entrance, service length, and discharge status impact the number of lifetime arrests, current offense type, and institutional misconduct. This research uses data from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics* 2004 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities. Multivariate analyses indicate that different elements of military participation influence criminal and deviant behaviors. Length of service significantly impacted the quantity of lifetime arrests, whereas age of entry, combat experience, and service length were important conditions in offense types. Inmates with military experience were found to be more likely to participate in institutional misconduct. The following service elements were predictors of prison misconduct as well: age of entry, length of service, branch affiliation, and discharge status. The findings in this study have theoretical implications for the use of criminological theory in military service research, and they provide suggestions for future military and criminal justice policy development.