Evaluating Vocational Materials for Incarcerated Veterans With Mental Illness or Substance Abuse

This study is ongoing, but not recruiting participants.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First received: March 27, 2008
Last updated: September 28, 2015
Last verified: September 2015
The purpose of this research is to test the usefulness of a vocational rehabilitation program for veterans with a history of felonies who also have a mental illness or have substance dependency.

Condition Intervention
Mental Illness
Other: Basic Vocational Services
Other: Self-Study
Other: Group Program

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Evaluating Vocational Materials for Incarcerated Veterans With Mental Illness

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by VA Office of Research and Development:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Time Till Employment in Days [ Time Frame: 12 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    Number of days until first day of competitive employment

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Test Economic Impact Between Manual Conditions (e.g., Cost-benefit Ratio) [ Time Frame: 12 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    overall economic impact, in dollars, will be evaluated by the following formula: income - healthcare cost - cost of incarceration

Enrollment: 111
Study Start Date: June 2009
Estimated Study Completion Date: April 2016
Primary Completion Date: October 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Basic Vocational Services
Veteran receives basic vocational services
Other: Basic Vocational Services
Vocational services
Active Comparator: Self-Study
Veteran participates in self-study vocational program
Other: Self-Study
Veteran receives self-study resources
Active Comparator: Group program
Group based vocational program
Other: Group Program
Veteran participates in group vocational program

Detailed Description:

The Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BOJS, 2000) reported in 2000 over 225,000 veterans were incarcerated in the nations' criminal facilities; 1 in 5 of these veterans saw combat during service. Approximately 78,000 veterans annually will be released from incarceration with 30% of those released from incarceration are re-arrested within 3 months, 44.1% re-arrested at one year, and 67.5% within 3 years. These numbers are higher with those with serious mental illnesses: 54.3% re-arrest rates at one year and 72% at 3 years.

The living status that many of these veterans with felonies return to is dire. In a survey of dually diagnosed and mentally ill offenders, 22% of mentally ill offenders and 43% of mentally ill offenders with substance addiction believed they would be homeless upon release. Ex-felons often return to more disadvantaged communities where employment is scarce (La Vigne, Mamalian, Travis, & Visher, 2003). Employers are reluctant to hire those with a history of incarceration due to biases against ex-offenders or due to legal liability (Connerley, Arvey, & Bernardy, 2001) or other biases (Holzer, 1996). Overall, employers have been shown to be less likely to hire ex-convicts than those with little work experience or those who are receiving welfare benefits (Holtzer, 1996).

The goal of this study is to identify successful vocational re-integration modalities for mental health and/or substance dependent veterans recently released from incarceration and those with felony histories. Specific Goals are 1) test time to employment between manual conditions; 2) test total time employed over the 12 months following training period; and 3) test economic impact between manual conditions The study will be a controlled 3 group randomized design. The independent variable will be the amount of vocational services received. Veterans will be randomly assigned to one of three conditions: 1) Basic vocational services but no manualized vocational program; 2) self-study of the manualized program; and 3) a full program consisting of the manualized program with vocational staff and peer vocational support specialists. All veterans enrolled in the study will have access to a Veteran's Employment Resource Center to provide infrastructure for job search.

Three primary dependent variables will be used. The first is the time till employment. The second is the total time employed during the 12 months following training. The third will be the economic impact of the training through differences in services required (e.g. emergency room visits, food stamps, cost of shelters, costs of rearrests) and income earned. Type of job skills, job history, and time incarcerated are some of the variables that potentially will be statistically controlled.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • underemployed or unemployed
  • has a mental health or substance dependence diagnosis
  • desires to enter the workforce through competitive employment.
  • History of at least one felony conviction

Emphasis will be placed on returning OEF/OIF veterans, combat veterans, and women veterans. Veterans entering the study can be recruited regardless of living situation.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • pursuing disability benefits due to unemployability
  • diagnosis of dementia or evidence of severe cognitive impairment
  • impaired reality testing due to psychosis
  • actively suicidal or homicidal.
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00648115

United States, Texas
VA North Texas Health Care System, Dallas
Dallas, Texas, United States, 75216
Sponsors and Collaborators
VA Office of Research and Development
Principal Investigator: James P. LePage, PhD VA North Texas Health Care System, Dallas
  More Information

Responsible Party: VA Office of Research and Development
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00648115     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: D6192-R, 08-004
Study First Received: March 27, 2008
Results First Received: February 9, 2015
Last Updated: September 28, 2015
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by VA Office of Research and Development:
Substance-Related Disorders
Mental Health

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Mental Disorders

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on November 27, 2015