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Department of Veterans Affairs Programs for Justice-Involved Veterans. Ira Katz Office of Mental Health Services [email protected] Defining Justice-Involved Veterans. A justice-involved Veterans is:

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department of veterans affairs programs for justice involved veterans

Department of Veterans Affairs Programs for Justice-Involved Veterans

Ira Katz

Office of Mental Health Services

[email protected]

defining justice involved veterans
Defining Justice-Involved Veterans
  • A justice-involved Veterans is:
    • A Veteran in contact with local law enforcement who can be appropriately diverted from arrest into mental health or substance abuse treatment;
    • A Veteran in a local jail, either pre-trial or serving a sentence; or,
    • A Veteran involved in adjudication or monitoring by a court
  • Related issues
    • Reentry for Veterans being discharged from State and Federal Prisons
    • Disruptive Behavior Committees to establish individualized strategies for safe management of Veterans who are dangerous to other patients, visitors, or providers
invisible wounds
Invisible Wounds
  • Combat can cause invisible wounds to the brain, mind, and soul
    • Traumatic brain injury
    • Mental health conditions
  • Both types of injuries can lead to
    • Poor judgment
    • Impulsivity
    • Difficulty in matching behavior to the context
  • Behaviors attributable to these injuries
    • Can look like criminal behavior
    • Can be criminal
estimated arrest rates 2007
Estimated Arrest Rates-2007

2007 adult population

Arrest rates

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

implications
Implications
  • Veterans are not more likely to be arrested than other adults
  • But, Veterans were service members who were trained to be skilled in matters of life and death
  • The healthy soldier effect should lead to lower numbers
  • America has an obligation provide treatment and rehabilitation for the invisible wounds of the brain, mind, and soul to decrease rates of “criminal” behaviors, arrests, and incarcerations
recent events
December, 2008

Outreach Planning Conference

April, 2009

Summit

8 State and Federal Judges

Broad VA representation

May,2009

Policy memo

Champions

Paul Hutter

Vincent Kane

William Feeley

James McGuire

Paul Smits

Recent Events
dushom memo to visn directors may 27 2009
DUSHOM Memo to VISN DirectorsMay 27, 2009
  • Requirements for VA Medical Center and VISN activity focused on justice-involved Veterans
    • VA Medical Centers must provide outreach to justice-involved Veterans in the communities they serve
    • In communities where justice programs relevant for Veterans exist, VA will take the initiative in building working relationships to see that eligible justice involved Veterans get needed care
      • Veterans courts
      • Mental Health courts
      • Drug Courts
      • CITs
    • In communities where no such programs exist, VA will reach out to potential justice system partners to connect eligible justice-involved Veterans with VA services
      • Judges
      • Prosecutors
      • Police
      • Jail administrators
    • VA Medical Centers must also ensure that VA Police located at their facilities have received training on Veteran-specific issues
scale of mh services in vha
Who are we?

18,600 FTE MH staff

Was 13,900 in 2005

Providing care in

21 VISNs

153 Medical Centers

732 CBOCs

Budget ~$4 billion/yr

> 232 Vet Centers

Whom do we serve?

23.8 million Veterans

7.8 million enrolled

5.2 million seen / yr

22% of Vets

1.6 million with MH Diagnoses

30% of Vets in VHA

Scale of MH Services in VHA
mental health conditions in vha fy 2006
Mental Health Conditions in VHAFY 2006

Disorders add to more than 100% because of coexisting conditions

what is ptsd
What is PTSD?
  • Trauma
    • PTSD is tied to a to particular life experience. A traumatic experience typically involves the potential for death or serious injury resulting in intense fear, helplessness, or horror.
  • Symptoms
      • PTSD is characterized by a specific group of symptoms that sets it apart from other types of reactions to trauma. Evidence points to four major types of symptoms.
    • Re-experiencing
      • Mental replaying of the trauma, often with strong emotional reactions. This can happen in reaction to thoughts or reminders of the experience when the person is awake or in the form of nightmares during sleep.
    • Avoidance
      • Often exhibited as efforts to evade activities, places, or people that are reminders of the trauma.
    • Numbing
      • Loss of emotions, particularly positive feelings.
    • Hyper Arousal
      • Excessive physiological activation and including heightened senses of being on guard as well as difficulty with sleep and concentration.
  • Length and Severity
    • To qualify for a formal diagnosis, the symptoms must persist for over one month, cause significant distress, and affect the individual's ability to function socially, occupationally, or domestically.
slide11
What is PTSD?

Symptoms,

Suffering, or

Impairment

Time

oef oif veterans seen in va medical centers clinics from 2002 through q4 2008
OEF/OIF VeteransSeen in VA Medical Centers & Clinics from 2002 through Q4 2008
  • Total 945,423
  • VA Medical Centers & Clinics 400,304
    • 42.3% of returning veterans
  • MH Conditions 178,483
    • 44.6% of veterans who came to VAMCs
  • PTSD 92,998
    • 23.2% of veterans who came to VAMCs
    • 52.1% of veterans with a MH condition

Conclusion: PTSD is an important component of the MH story for returning Veterans, but it is not the whole story

population coverage
Population Coverage

As of end 2008

The 2008 RAND report estimated that 13.8% of service members and Veterans had PTSD

Applying this number to the Veteran population suggests:

130,468 returning Veterans have PTSD

71.3% have been seen in VAMCs and CBOCs

80.8% have been seen somewhere in VHA

Veterans with PTSD come to VHA 1.89 times more

battlemind developed by the wrair land combat study team ltc carl castro
BattlemindDeveloped by the WRAIR Land Combat Study Team (LTC Carl Castro)
  • Battlemind includes combat skills and the combat mindset that sustained your survival in the combat zone
  • But Battlemind may be hazardous to your social and behavioral health in the home zone
  • It is critical that you not let your combat behaviors and reactions determine how you will respond at home
battlemind
Battlemind
  • Buddies (Cohesion)
  • Accountability
  • Targeted aggression
  • Tactical awareness
  • Lethally armed
  • Emotional control
  • Mission operation security
  • Individual responsibility
  • Non-defensive (combat) driving
  • Discipline and ordering
non defensive combat vs aggressive driving
Non-defensive (combat) vs Aggressive Driving
  • In Combat:
    • Driving unpredictably, fast, using rapid lane changes and keeping other vehicles at a distance is designed to avoid IEDs and VBIEDs.
  • At home:
    • Aggressive driving and straddling the middle line leads to speeding tickets, accidents and fatalities.
targeted vs inappropriate aggression
Targeted vs Inappropriate Aggression
  • In Combat:
    • Split second decisions that are lethal in highly ambiguous environments are necessary. Kill or be killed.
    • Anger keeps you pumped up, alert, awake and alive.
  • At home:
    • You may have hostility towards others.
    • You may display inappropriate anger, or snap at your buddies or NCOs.
    • You may overreact to minor insults.
lethally armed vs locked loaded at home
Lethally Armed vs “Locked & Loaded” at Home
  • In Combat:
    • Carrying your weapon at all times was mandatory and a matter of life or death.
  • At home:
    • You may feel a need to have weapons on you, in your home and/or car at all times, believing that you and your loved ones are not safe without them.
discipline ordering vs conflict
Discipline & Ordering vs Conflict
  • In Combat:
    • Survival depends on discipline and obeying orders.
    • Following orders kept you and those around you safe and in control.
  • At home:
    • Inflexible interactions (ordering and demanding behaviors) with your spouse, children and friends often lead to conflict
accountability vs control
Accountability vs Control
  • In Combat:
    • Maintaining control of weapon and gear is necessary for survival.
    • ALL personal items are important to you.
  • At home:
    • You may become angry when someone moves or messes with your stuff even if it is insignificant.
    • You may think that nobody cares about doing things right except for you.
special courts a growing movement
Special Courts:a growing movement
  • Veterans courts
    • 9 operational
    • ~ three dozen being planned
  • Mental Health courts
    • > 300 operational
    • Alternative include
      • MH presence for all courts (CT)
      • MH programs for probation
  • Drug courts
    • > 2000 operational
estimated justice involved veteran population 2007
Estimated Justice-Involved Veteran Population-2007

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

incarceration in prisons 2004
Incarceration in Prisons-2004

Rate per 100,000 adult males

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

types of discharge 2004
Types of Discharge-2004

State Prisons

Federal Prisons

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

veterans in prison
Veterans in Prison
  • Older
  • Less likely to be minorities
  • More likely to have been married
  • More educated
  • More violent offenses
    • State (57.4% vs 46.8%)
    • Federal (19.0% vs 14.1%)
    • More likely to have known victim * (70.9% vs 54.3%)
    • More likely relatives/intimates* (37.1% vs 21.1%)
    • Less likely to use weapon* (29.5% vs 37.8%)
  • Less drug offenses
    • State (15.0% vs 22.1%)
    • Federal (46.3% vs 56.2%)
  • Longer sentences
    • State (mean 147 vs 119 mos)
    • Federal (mean 138 vs 127 mos)

* State prisons

limits on va authorization
Limits on VA Authorization
  • Title 38 CFR 17.38 does not allow VHA to provide:
    • Hospital and outpatient care for a Veteran who is
    • Either a patient or inmate in an institution of another government agency
    • If that agency has a duty to give that care or services
outreach to veterans in prison
Outreach to Veterans in Prison
  • Health Care for Reentry Veterans (HCRV)
    • 29,000 to 56,000 Veterans are discharged from State and Federal prisons each year
      • 39 FTEE HCRV Specialists
      • Are contacting Veterans in 451 of 1208 State and Federal prisons, and have
      • Worked with 10,415 Veterans
dushom memo to visn directors may 27 200929
DUSHOM Memo to VISN DirectorsMay 27, 2009
  • Requirements for VA Medical Center and VISN activity focused on justice-involved Veterans
    • VA Medical Centers must now provide outreach to justice-involved Veterans in the communities they serve
    • In communities where justice programs relevant for Veterans exist, VA will take the initiative in building working relationships to see that eligible justice involved Veterans get needed care
      • Veterans courts
      • Mental Health courts
      • Drug Courts
      • CITs
    • In communities where no such programs exist, VA will reach out to potential justice system partners to connect eligible justice-involved Veterans with VA services
      • Judges
      • Prosecutors
      • Police
      • Jail administrators
    • VA Medical Centers must also ensure that VA Police located at their facilities have received training on Veteran-specific issues
what now
What now?
  • Action in Washington may be necessary, but it can never be sufficient.
  • Changing a large system may require
    • A push from VACO
    • A pull from consumers, families, and advocates
  • NAMI, VSOs should be aware of the May 27 memo requirements to ensure that VA facilities
    • Work with CIT programs and special courts in each area
    • Work with other stakeholders to establish these programs where they do not currently exist
work with veterans justice outreach specialists
Work with Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists
  • Each VAMC must designate a VJO specialist
  • Responsible for
    • Outreach, assessment, case management for justice involved Veterans in local courts and jails
    • Liaison with local justice system partners
    • Providing/coordinating training for law enforcement personnel
  • Specialists will
    • Assist in eligibility determination and enrollment
    • Function as members of court treatment teams
    • Refer and link Veterans to appropriate providers
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