Veterans Treatment Courts. American Judges Association 2012 Educational Conference-New Orleans Presented by Judge Robert Russell. Outline. Who is a Veteran? Who are they? Justice-involved Veterans What is a Drug Court? How is a Veterans Treatment Court different?
Veterans Treatment Courts
American Judges Association
2012 Educational Conference-New Orleans
Presented by Judge Robert Russell
23.2 million Veterans in the United States
5.2 million have served from the Gulf War to present
2 Million members of the armed forces have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since October 2001
As of December 31, 2007, more than 800,000 veterans of these conflicts were eligible for VA healthcare
254,000 Reservists and 332,000 National Guard members have deployed to OEF/OIF
Increased stress on families, employment, and housing
1.8 million of today's Veterans are women (7.5%)
20% of all military personnel are represented by women
182,000 served in OEF/OIF
5% of the Veteran homeless population are women
4 times more likely to become homeless than male veterans
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Exposure to traumatic event in which both of following present:
(1) Person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.
(2) Person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.
VA Screening, 2002-2008
Among active duty service members:
Dept of Defense Behavioral Health Survey - 2008
Bureau of Justice Statistics - 2004
Judicially-supervised docket that provides defendants/clients with intensive treatment and other services while holding them accountable to the court, society, their families and themselves
Veterans have challenges, but why have a separate treatment court for them?
Veterans are used to:
The 10 Key Components of Veteran’s Treatment Court
Veterans Treatment Courts have adopted with slight modifications the essential tenements of the Ten Key Components as described in the U.S. Department of Justice Publication entitled “Defining Drug Courts: The Ten Key Components”, (Jan. 1997).
Integrates alcohol, drug treatment, mental health treatment, medical services with justice system case processing
Using a non-adversarial approach, prosecution and defense promote public safety while protecting participants' due process rights
To facilitate the veterans’ progress in treatment, the prosecutor and defense counsel shed their traditional adversarial courtroom relationship and work together as a team.
Eligible participants are identified early and promptly placed
Early identification of veterans entering the criminal justice system is an integral part of the process for placement in the Veterans Treatment Court program.
The trauma of arrest can be an opportunity for the veteran to address denial issues.
Access to a continuum of alcohol, drug, mental health and rehabilitation services
Participants in Veterans Treatment Court may have different levels of need in a wide variety of service domains.
Issues such as PTSD, TBI, Domestic Violence and homelessness may need to be assessed and addressed.
Abstinence is monitored by frequent alcohol and drug testing
Court ordered drug testing
Use of results
Coordinated strategy governs Court’s responses to participants' compliance
Coordinated strategy establishes protocols for rewarding progress as well as sanctioning non-compliance.
Ongoing judicial interaction with each Veteran is essential
Judge as leader of the team.
Continuity of relationship between judge and veteran
Relationship from acceptance in program throughout treatment and commencement and aftercare
The message is “Someone in authority cares”
Monitoring and evaluation measure the achievement of program goals and gauge effectiveness
Measures progress against goals
Results are used to monitor progress
Results are used to improve operations
Continuing interdisciplinary education promotes effective Court planning, implementation, and operations
All Veterans Treatment Court staff should be involved in interdisciplinary education and training.
Shared interdisciplinary training creates common knowledge and understanding.
Forging partnerships among the Veterans Administration, public agencies, and community-based organizations generates local support and enhances Court effectiveness