Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science (MA)

Degree Level



Political Science


William Schreckhise

Committee Member

Brinck Kerr

Second Committee Member

Geoboo Song


Alternative Court, County, Diffusion, Drug Court, Nemo Resideo, Veteran


In 2008, leading U.S. counties adopted innovative treatment courts specializing in the unique needs of veterans with substance abuse and other legal issues. Since then, pro-veteran advocacy has aided in the continued diffusion of additional veterans treatment courts (VTCs), with more than 300 county and state-level VTCs currently operating in 46 states across the country. Though the lens through which veterans are viewed may be positive in the public eye, institutional support for these wayward veterans appears to vary across levels of government; therefore, while some posit the increased social utility of budget-friendly VTCs, others suggest that VTCs offer favorable treatment unavailable to nonveterans. In light of these contending perspectives, this thesis employs time-series logit models to examine the county-level diffusion of VTCs utilizing integrated data ranging from 2004 to 2014. Counties that adopted VTCs were more likely to have a local military base, a local VA hospital, greater VA compensation expenditures per capita, and lower crime rates; additionally, they were likely to have a higher per capita income, a larger minority population, and a smaller veteran population than counties without a VTC. This thesis, providing general insight into the innovation and diffusion of county-level public policy and veterans policy, supports prior state-level VTC diffusion research findings of increased social utility, and contends a top-down trajectory of diminishing wayward veteran social construction across American institutions.