According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report – approximately 20% of veterans in state prisons reported seeing combat duty during their military service. A larger percentage in prison, approximately 50%, have served during a period of wartime. According to the report, Vietnam veterans account for the majority of veterans in State prisons. Veterans who have seen combat during their military service were less likely to have a criminal status when arrested. Forty percent (40%) of combat veterans were first time offenders compared to 27% of non-combat offenders.
Also, veterans have less extensive criminal histories than non-veterans. Veterans in State prisons are less likely to be recidivists with nearly a third being first time offenders.