VETERANS COMBAT EXPERIENCE 56.9% Received incoming artillery 57.1% Knew someone seriously injured or killed 47.4% Saw dead bodies or human remains 45.4% Had member of unit become a casualty 34.1% Saw dead or seriously injured Americans.
PTSD & TBI PTSD and TBI effect 1:5 combat veterans Rate is 1:3 for 3 rd and 4 th tours # of Cases has tripled in the last 5 years It can take between 5 and 10 years after discharge for symptoms to fully manifest A high percentage with PTSD & TBI also suffer from drug and alcohol abuse.
DRUG ABUSE Prescription drug addictions From 2002 to 2005 it doubled From 2005 to 2008 it tripled 25-35% of wounded soldiers are addicted Of the pain killers, 95% chose oxycodone 36% of Ft. Bragg soldiers were prescribed opiates in 2009
SEX ABUSE Past year violent sex crimes have increased by 30% Since 2006 violent sex crimes have increased 90% Most of victims being between 18 and 21 Defense Secretary Panetta reports these crimes are still very underreported
SUICIDE As per NY Times, American soldier dies in combat every day and a half. American soldier commits suicide every 80 minutes Veterans rate of suicide is double national rate Ages 17-24 quadruples the risk of suicide.
FUTURE Military is downsizing Reduction of deployments Withdraw Afghanistan by 2014 Army announced it will reduce troops by 50,000 Congress continues to cut military budgets Who will be the first to be let go? Where will they go?
Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration (2006). “Guidelines and Recommendations for Services Provided by VHA Facilities to Incarcerated Veterans Re-Entering Community Living.” Undersecretary for Health’s Information Letter, Washington, D.C. http://www1.va.gov/homeless/docs/IV_IL_10200607.pdf
Collaborative team model Similar to existing specialty courts Provides treatment in lieu of incarceration Distinctive VTC features – Veteran Mentors & VA care Make communities safe and restore veterans to health For qualified veterans WHAT IS VTC?
PREREQUISITES Veteran alleges the offense was committed as a result of; military sexual trauma traumatic brain injury post-traumatic stress disorder substance abuse mental health problems stemming from service in the military, Before being sentenced the court shall, determine whether the defendant served in the military is suffering from any of the above
TYPICAL OFFENSES High Risk - Driving offenses/robberies DUI (multiple offenses in short time period) Substance abuse (85% self treat with alcohol) Bar fights/Assaults, DV(atypical) Possession/Brandishing firearms Look for “weird facts” related to triggers
Defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty Probation eligible/assigned and appropriate treatment is available Treatment can be VA, Vet Center, or other local mental health resources, preference given to programs treating veteran’s particular assessed condition(s). Custody credits day for day for residential treatment TYPICAL CASE
Judge can reduce most felonies to misdemeanors Misdemeanors, including those reduced may be dismissed by the judge Unless applying for position in law enforcement, veteran may answer “NO” to questions re: arrest and conviction as related to the dismissed case Can be considered a prior with new criminal act ONCE COMPLETED
ADVANTAGES Elimination of lengthy and costly trials Reduction of expensive long term incarceration Reduction of crime Less victimization Shift emphasis from local to federal (VA) resources Gets veterans back on their feet before they become immersed in the criminal subculture.
SUMMARY 1 million service members discharged in next 5 years Many combat veterans will be discharged with PTSD or it will manifest itself with 5-10 years after discharge. Southern and Central Coast are two of the highest density veteran relocation areas of the country. AB109 will place most veteran offenders in our jail and our probation department.
SUPPORTED BY Veterans Service Organizations AMVETS, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars… California Organizations Veterans Legal Task Force, National Guard, Dept. of Veterans Affairs, MADD, CACVSO… National Organizations Nat. District Attorney Assoc., Nat. Sheriff’s Assoc., Amer. Judges Assoc., Amer. Bar Assoc., Dept. of Veterans Affairs…