This brief presents findings based on data collected in the 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates, a survey conducted through face-to-face interviews with a national sample of state and federal prisoners across a variety of topics, such as their demographic characteristics, socio-economic background, health, and involvement with the criminal justice system. The brief describes incarcerated veterans by demographic, offense, sentencing and military characteristics, including military branch, combat experience, and discharge type.
- An estimated 107,400 veterans were serving time in state or federal prison in 2016—the majority (98%) of which were male.
- The majority of male veterans in state (56%) and federal (53%) prison served in the Army.
- About 1 in 4 male veterans in state (28%) and 1 in 5 in federal (21%) prison were combat veterans.
- An estimated 74% of male veterans in state prison and 77% of those in federal prison received an honorable discharge or a general discharge under honorable conditions.
- Male veterans in state prison (26%) were twice as likely as male non-veterans in state prison (12%) to be serving time for a violent sexual offense.