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Veterans Treatment Courts GEORGIA ACCOUNTABILITY COURTS CONFERENCE JACK OCONNOR BUFFALO VETERANS COURT B.

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Presentation on theme: "Veterans Treatment Courts GEORGIA ACCOUNTABILITY COURTS CONFERENCE JACK OCONNOR BUFFALO VETERANS COURT B."— Presentation transcript:

1 Veterans Treatment Courts GEORGIA ACCOUNTABILITY COURTS CONFERENCE JACK OCONNOR BUFFALO VETERANS COURT B

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3 Our Mission To successfully habilitate veterans by diverting them from the traditional criminal justice system and providing them with the tools they need in order to lead a productive and law-abiding lifestyle. Our Goal Our program’s goal is to reduce the veterans’ inappropriate behavior while helping them turn their lives around. We will find them, offer them assistance, assess their needs, manage their care and help them solve their problems.

4 Post-9/11 Veterans: Who are they? Over 2 million deployed to the Global War on Terror (GWOT) 810,000 have deployed more than once to Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Over 1 million currently separated from active duty AND eligible for VA services

5 Reserve and National Guard 254,000 Reservists and 332,000 National Guard members have deployed to OEF/OIF Increased stress on families, employment, and housing

6 Women Veterans 15% of today’s military Over 235,000 served in OEF/OIF 12%-16% are single parents Approximately 10% of homeless Veterans < 45 2 times more likely to become homeless than non-Veteran women

7 Homelessness Veterans twice as likely to become homeless as non-Veterans Criminal involvement is single best predicator of future homelessness

8 Unemployment In 2008, 18% of recently separated Veterans were unemployed In 2009, Male Veterans, aged 18-24, unemployment rate was 21.6%

9 Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Both sexual harassment and sexual assault that occurs in military settings. 60% of women with Military Sexual Trauma also suffered from PTSD.

10 KEY COMPONENTS Key Components adapted from Drug Treatment and Mental Health Treatment Courts Resources: Veterans Treatment Court Clearinghouse

11 Key Component # 1 Integrates alcohol, drug treatment, mental health treatment, medical services with justice system case processing

12 Veterans Treatment Court promotes sobriety, recovery and stability through a coordinated response to veteran’s dependency on alcohol, drugs, and/or management of their mental illness.

13 Key Component # 2 Using a non-adversarial approach, prosecution and defense promote public safety while protecting participants' due process rights

14 To facilitate the veterans’ progress in treatment, the prosecutor and defense counsel shed their traditional adversarial courtroom relationship and work together as a team.

15 Key Component # 3 Eligible participants are identified early and promptly placed

16 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.

17 Key Component # 4 Access to a continuum of alcohol, drug, mental health and rehabilitation services

18 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. Mentors

19 Key Component # 5 Abstinence is monitored by frequent alcohol and drug testing

20 Court ordered drug testing Frequent Random Use of results Drug Testing

21 Key Component # 6 Coordinated strategy governs Court’s responses to participants' compliance

22 Incentives and Sanctions Coordinated strategy establishes protocols for rewarding progress as well as sanctioning non- compliance.

23 Key Component # 7 Ongoing judicial interaction with each Veteran is essential

24 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”

25 Key Component # 8 Monitoring and evaluation measure the achievement of program goals and gauge effectiveness

26 Program Monitoring Measures progress against goals Results are used to monitor progress Results are used to improve operations

27 Key Component # 9 Continuing interdisciplinary education promotes effective Court planning, implementation, and operations

28 All Veterans Treatment Court staff should be involved in interdisciplinary education and training. Shared interdisciplinary training creates common knowledge and understanding.

29 Key Component # 10 Forging partnerships among the Veterans Administration, public agencies, and community- based organizations generates local support and enhances Court effectiveness

30 PROCESS TO ESTABLISH A VETERANS TREATMENT COURT PROCESS TO ESTABLISH A VETERANS TREATMENT COURT FIND A JUDGE GET APPROVAL FROM SUPERVISING JUDGE BUILD A VETERANS COURT TEAM ESTABLISH RELATIONSHIP WITH VA SYSTEM HOLD COMMUNITY MEETINGS

31 Buffalo’s Experience :Veterans Tx Court Treatment Court Background-Drug & Mental Health Courts Veterans seen in Treatment Courts Facilitation by fellow Veterans Visit to Buffalo Veterans Hospital Advisory Board, (WNY) V.A. Director Michael Finnegan Community forums with Veterans Health Care, the Court and Community Behavioral Health Care Providers-Keynote Speaker Deputy Under Secretary William Feeley

32 Veterans Court A specialized criminal court docket Established to address the needs of veteran- defendants with substance dependency and/or mental illness issues Primarily non-violent felony or misdemeanor offenses (violent offenses: case by case) Substitution of treatment problem solving model for traditional court processing

33 Target Population/Eligibility Combat vs. Non-combat Violent Offenders Active Duty, Reservists, National Guard High Risk, High Need Military Discharge Status VA Eligibility

34 EARLY IDENTIFICATION Veterans are identified through evidence based screening and assessments. They voluntarily participate in a judicially supervised treatment plan that a team of court staff, veteran health care professionals, veteran peer mentors, AOD health care professionals and mental health professionals develop with the veteran.

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41 Participants Veterans (family members?) Legal defense team & Prosecutor Court staff Veteran health care professionals Veteran peer mentors AOD health care professionals Mental health professional VA benefit coordinators

42 Unique Components Court entirely of Veterans In Court: Veterans Health Care Worker(s) Veteran Mentors Therapeutic Environment Hybrid Drug & Mental Health Court

43 V.A. Health Care Worker Barry White Tel # Liaison Obtaining VA Releases of Information Facilitating VA linkages for services Coordinating and providing VA status report regarding Tx, toxs, appointments, etc. Case management & crisis management

44 FEDERAL OFFICE OF VETERANS BENEFIT AFFAIRS Carly Klein and Timothy Philo, Veteran Service Representatives & Liaison Obtaining VA Releases of Information Facilitate processing or review of Pension Disability Benefits Process review of potential errors or corrections on veterans DD214

45 Challenge Overcoming “Warrior mentality”

46 Veteran Mentors “Leave no one behind”

47 Veteran Mentors Role Coach Facilitator Advisor Sponsor Support

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49 CONTACT INFORMATION CONTACT INFORMATION JUDGE ROBERT RUSSELL JACK O’CONNOR, Mentor Coor John LaHood VJO Timothy Philo, VSR, Resource: &

50 Thank you for your support


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