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

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00648115
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : April 1, 2008
Results First Posted : October 30, 2015
Last Update Posted : December 18, 2017
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development

Brief Summary:
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 or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Mental Illness Other: Basic Vocational Services Other: Self-Study Other: Group Program Not Applicable

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.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 111 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Evaluating Vocational Materials for Incarcerated Veterans With Mental Illness
Actual Study Start Date : June 1, 2009
Actual Primary Completion Date : October 1, 2014
Actual Study Completion Date : September 29, 2017

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Mental Disorders

Arm Intervention/treatment
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

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Time Till Employment in Days [ Time Frame: 12 months ]
    Number of days until first day of competitive employment

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Test Economic Impact Between Manual Conditions (e.g., Cost-benefit Ratio) [ Time Frame: 12 months ]
    overall economic impact, in dollars, will be evaluated by the following formula: income - healthcare cost - cost of incarceration

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
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.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00648115

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

Publications of Results:
Other Publications:
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Responsible Party: VA Office of Research and Development Identifier: NCT00648115     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: D6192-R
08-004 ( Other Identifier: VANTHCS IRB )
First Posted: April 1, 2008    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: October 30, 2015
Last Update Posted: December 18, 2017
Last Verified: November 2017
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Product Manufactured in and Exported from the U.S.: No

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

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Mental Disorders