Jamie Rowen, assistant professor of political science and legal studies, has been selected for one of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) CAREER Awards, the highest recognition the NSF gives to early-career faculty. The five-year, $500,000 grant will support Rowen’s research into Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs), a program that emerged as one response to a growing concern that veterans are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system and have unique, unmet needs.
“This grant allows me to apply my knowledge on how law can aid survivors of mass atrocity to a new and vitally important domestic policy issue,” says Rowen.
Each of the more than 500 VTCs around the country seeks to connect qualifying veterans with substance use and mental health services. The project involves team-based, comparative analysis of the people and culture of VTCs. Rowen and her fellow researchers will conduct long-term observation of court hearings, interviews with VTC founders and local and national personnel.
“By examining the purpose and practice of VTCs, we will address why and how local legal innovations emerge to address entrenched social and political problems such as drug use, mental health disorders, poverty and war,” Rowen says.
“The project takes a distinctly local approach to understanding the opportunities and limitations of criminal justice reforms designed to aid vulnerable veterans. Further, one of the most exciting aspects of this generous award is that it will enable me to learn from, train and collaborate with students researching veteran’s issues from across the country,” she adds.
“This award is a huge honor, and would not have been possible without the support of my legal studies program colleagues, the department of political science and, most importantly, the Center for Research on Families,” Rowen notes.