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Edelman, Bernard

The purpose of Veterans Treatment Courts is to offer vets with a substance use problem and/or diagnosis of a mental health issue an opportunity to avail themselves of treatment-oriented justice. Based on anecdotal evidence and an increasing accretion of data from the field—in many of the projects funded by the National Institute of Corrections and the Bureau of Justice Assistance—these courts appear to be achieving their goal. They are helping worthy individuals find a degree of redemption while paying their debt to society. They are restoring family relationships, strengthening communities, cutting rates of recidivism and, hence, making communities safer.

But what of those veterans who are incarcerated, serving a sentence, or awaiting trial or other resolution of the charges against them?

This paper is the second in the National Institute of Corrections justice-involved veteran compendium project. It illuminates programs in jails across the country and how justice involved veterans have been helped by them. It illustrates the design, development, implementation, and sustainment of initiatives taken by enlightened, pragmatic corrections officials who have set up veteran-specific housing—in pods, dorms, units, wings, or floors—and programming for military veterans.

Barracks Behind Bars introduces several of the facilities and the men and women whose vision is paying off with reportedly fewer behavioral problems and incidents of violence by incarcerated veterans. This may contribute to a less stressful, safer environment for correctional personnel and facilitates opportunities for assistance from the Veterans Justice Outreach specialists of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, personnel from state and county departments, and volunteers from community and veterans organizations. This white paper shares the views of jail administrators, judges, and formerly incarcerated veterans—each of whom have stories to tell—in their own words.

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This white paper is based on a series of interviews, buttressed by personal observations, of key players in several jurisdictions where law enforcement officers, Veteran Justice Outreach Specialists from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and community-based agency representatives collaborate to implement approaches to de-escalate veterans in crisis in our communities. These programs are improving public safety. They are creating opportunities for veterans struggling to re-acclimate to civilian life. These traumatized men- and increasingly women- receive the help they need to address mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, related to their military service.

This is the third publication in the National Institute of Corrections justice-involved veterans compendium project. It shares the views of law enforcement programs at several locations across the country, from small towns to large cities, and highlights how each jurisdiction went about creating and implementing teams or programs to improve practices meant to serve veterans who are in crisis.

Veteran Response Teams are improving outcomes for these veterans and minimizing hostile and sometimes volatile situations for both law enforcement officers and veterans. This paper shares the views of police officers, sheriff’s deputies, corrections professionals, representatives from the VA and other community-based treatment providers, each of whom, in their own words, have stories to tell.

Sentencing alternatives for veterans? There are dozens of specialized courts across the country that employ therapeutic programs to help keep veterans out of jail. "Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance for Vets Who Have Lost Their Way" is a new publication that tells the story of these veterans and the judges, veterans advocates, and treatment professionals who are fighting to ensure a second chance for vets who find themselves caught up in the criminal justice system.

The publication was produced in partnership by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), a division of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Veterans Health Council of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). The report is based on a series of interviews and personal observations of the judges, veterans, and veterans advocates who have been intimately involved in the founding and operation of veterans treatment courts. In this book, they relay how veterans treatment courts are "the right thing to do" for justice-involved veterans who commit certain crimes associated with the lingering legacy of their wartime experiences.

Court staff and graduates of veterans treatment court programs describe, in often exquisite detail, what their roles are and how they have come to embrace the concept that these courts, which use a carrot-and-stick approach to rehabilitate rather than overtly punish veteran defendants, represent what one veteran in Buffalo, New York, a key player in the creation of the first of these courts in the nation, has called "the most profound change in the attitude of our criminal justice system towards veterans in the history of this country."

Objectives of this webinar are: Introduce NIC's new publication "Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance for Vets Who Have Lost Their Way" by Bernard Edelman, Deputy Director for Policy and Government Affairs, VVA, and consultant Dr. Tom Berger, Executive Director of VVA's Veterans Health Council; Describe the inception of veteran's treatment courts and their focus; Highlight successes and challenges of veteran's treatment courts; and Hear a veteran's personal story of the impact of veteran's treatment court on their life.

cover for webinar Veterans Treatment Courts

"This white paper is based on a series of interviews, buttressed by personal observations, of key players in half a dozen jurisdictions where Veterans Treatment Courts have been operating with marked success. Neither graphs nor charts nor a plethora of statistics are employed to illustrate the protocols and practices of these therapeutic courts. Instead, proponents and practitioners intimately involved in the founding and operation of these courts relate how they are “the right thing to do” for combat veterans who commit certain crimes that are associated with the lingering legacy of their wartime experiences. They describe, in often exquisite detail, what their roles are and how they have come to embrace the concept that these courts, which use a carrot-and-stick approach to rehabilitate rather than overtly punish veteran defendants, represent what one of the individuals responsible for the introduction of the first of these diversionary courts has called “the most profound change in the attitude of our criminal justice system towards veterans in the history of this country” (p. iii).

This publication is comprised of fifteen chapters: so, you're (thinking of) starting a veterans treatment court; nobody returns from a combat zone unaffected, unscathed, unchanged; PTSD by any other name … can still wreck lives; a brief history of veterans treatment courts; Judge Robert Russell—"godfather" of the veterans treatment court movement; Buffalo Veterans Court—they're number one; the "top ten" components of a veterans treatment court; the mentor program—helping vets through the labyrinth; in the beginning—first set up your game plan; role of the players; Judge Marc Carter—what justice is; elements of the process; Michelle Slaterry—maven for research; success stories—in their own words; and questions and answers.

Veterans Treatment Courts cover

This program on justice-involved veterans, highlights the lifesaving role being played by veterans treatment courts (VTCs) across the country.

From WWII through the continuing global war on terror, there are approximately 21.5 million veterans in the U.S. today. So many of these men, and increasingly women, return home damaged mentally and physically from their time in service. These wounds often contribute to their involvement in the criminal justice system. As a result, veterans are overrepresented in our jails and prisons.

For these justice-involved vets, Veterans Treatment Courts are providing a pathway to recovery so that they can be restored to functioning and contributing members of society.

Veterans Treatment Courts, or VTCs, provide hope, restore families and save lives. The first VTC, founded in 2008 in Buffalo, New York, has inspired the creation of more than 220 courts of similar nature in jurisdictions, both large and small, across the country. Hundreds more are in various stages of planning and implementation.

These courts have the support of the communities they serve, as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and local service providing agencies. Critical to the success of VTCs are veterans who volunteer to be trained and serve as mentors to justice-involved veterans.

This training program will: Introduce Veterans Treatment Courts as an effective intervention and an alternative to incarceration for justice-involved veterans; Identify the unique issues which contribute to veterans’ involvement in the criminal justice system at the local, state and federal levels; Highlight the inception of Veterans Treatment Courts and the role they play in improving public safety, reducing recidivism, saving taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, restoring the lives of those who have served our country; Showcase model Veterans Treatment Court Programs, including Veterans Peer Mentor Programs; Demonstrate how to implement and sustain an effective VTC, including the vital role of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Veteran Peer Mentors; and Provide resources and next steps for jurisdictions interested in implementing a Veterans Treatment Court or looking to improve an existing program.

Veterans Treatment Courts cover

This program on justice-involved veterans, highlights the lifesaving role being played by veterans treatment courts (VTCs) across the country.

From WWII through the continuing global war on terror, there are approximately 21.5 million veterans in the U.S. today. So many of these men, and increasingly women, return home damaged mentally and physically from their time in service. These wounds often contribute to their involvement in the criminal justice system. As a result, veterans are overrepresented in our jails and prisons.

For these justice-involved vets, Veterans Treatment Courts are providing a pathway to recovery so that they can be restored to functioning and contributing members of society.

Veterans Treatment Courts, or VTCs, provide hope, restore families and save lives. The first VTC, founded in 2008 in Buffalo, New York, has inspired the creation of more than 220 courts of similar nature in jurisdictions, both large and small, across the country. Hundreds more are in various stages of planning and implementation.

These courts have the support of the communities they serve, as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and local service providing agencies. Critical to the success of VTCs are veterans who volunteer to be trained and serve as mentors to justice-involved veterans.

This training program will: Introduce Veterans Treatment Courts as an effective intervention and an alternative to incarceration for justice-involved veterans; Identify the unique issues which contribute to veterans’ involvement in the criminal justice system at the local, state and federal levels; Highlight the inception of Veterans Treatment Courts and the role they play in improving public safety, reducing recidivism, saving taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, restoring the lives of those who have served our country; Showcase model Veterans Treatment Court Programs, including Veterans Peer Mentor Programs; Demonstrate how to implement and sustain an effective VTC, including the vital role of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Veteran Peer Mentors; and Provide resources and next steps for jurisdictions interested in implementing a Veterans Treatment Court or looking to improve an existing program.

Veterans Treatment Courts cover

This program on justice-involved veterans, highlights the lifesaving role being played by veterans treatment courts (VTCs) across the country.

From WWII through the continuing global war on terror, there are approximately 21.5 million veterans in the U.S. today. So many of these men, and increasingly women, return home damaged mentally and physically from their time in service. These wounds often contribute to their involvement in the criminal justice system. As a result, veterans are overrepresented in our jails and prisons.

For these justice-involved vets, Veterans Treatment Courts are providing a pathway to recovery so that they can be restored to functioning and contributing members of society.

Veterans Treatment Courts, or VTCs, provide hope, restore families and save lives. The first VTC, founded in 2008 in Buffalo, New York, has inspired the creation of more than 220 courts of similar nature in jurisdictions, both large and small, across the country. Hundreds more are in various stages of planning and implementation.

These courts have the support of the communities they serve, as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and local service providing agencies. Critical to the success of VTCs are veterans who volunteer to be trained and serve as mentors to justice-involved veterans.

This training program will: Introduce Veterans Treatment Courts as an effective intervention and an alternative to incarceration for justice-involved veterans; Identify the unique issues which contribute to veterans’ involvement in the criminal justice system at the local, state and federal levels; Highlight the inception of Veterans Treatment Courts and the role they play in improving public safety, reducing recidivism, saving taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, restoring the lives of those who have served our country; Showcase model Veterans Treatment Court Programs, including Veterans Peer Mentor Programs; Demonstrate how to implement and sustain an effective VTC, including the vital role of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Veteran Peer Mentors; and Provide resources and next steps for jurisdictions interested in implementing a Veterans Treatment Court or looking to improve an existing program.

Veterans Treatment Courts cover

This program on justice-involved veterans, highlights the lifesaving role being played by veterans treatment courts (VTCs) across the country.

From WWII through the continuing global war on terror, there are approximately 21.5 million veterans in the U.S. today. So many of these men, and increasingly women, return home damaged mentally and physically from their time in service. These wounds often contribute to their involvement in the criminal justice system. As a result, veterans are overrepresented in our jails and prisons.

For these justice-involved vets, Veterans Treatment Courts are providing a pathway to recovery so that they can be restored to functioning and contributing members of society.

Veterans Treatment Courts, or VTCs, provide hope, restore families and save lives. The first VTC, founded in 2008 in Buffalo, New York, has inspired the creation of more than 220 courts of similar nature in jurisdictions, both large and small, across the country. Hundreds more are in various stages of planning and implementation.

These courts have the support of the communities they serve, as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and local service providing agencies. Critical to the success of VTCs are veterans who volunteer to be trained and serve as mentors to justice-involved veterans.

This training program will: Introduce Veterans Treatment Courts as an effective intervention and an alternative to incarceration for justice-involved veterans; Identify the unique issues which contribute to veterans’ involvement in the criminal justice system at the local, state and federal levels; Highlight the inception of Veterans Treatment Courts and the role they play in improving public safety, reducing recidivism, saving taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, restoring the lives of those who have served our country; Showcase model Veterans Treatment Court Programs, including Veterans Peer Mentor Programs; Demonstrate how to implement and sustain an effective VTC, including the vital role of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Veteran Peer Mentors; and Provide resources and next steps for jurisdictions interested in implementing a Veterans Treatment Court or looking to improve an existing program.

Veterans Treatment Courts cover

This program on justice-involved veterans, highlights the lifesaving role being played by veterans treatment courts (VTCs) across the country.

From WWII through the continuing global war on terror, there are approximately 21.5 million veterans in the U.S. today. So many of these men, and increasingly women, return home damaged mentally and physically from their time in service. These wounds often contribute to their involvement in the criminal justice system. As a result, veterans are overrepresented in our jails and prisons.

For these justice-involved vets, Veterans Treatment Courts are providing a pathway to recovery so that they can be restored to functioning and contributing members of society.

Veterans Treatment Courts, or VTCs, provide hope, restore families and save lives. The first VTC, founded in 2008 in Buffalo, New York, has inspired the creation of more than 220 courts of similar nature in jurisdictions, both large and small, across the country. Hundreds more are in various stages of planning and implementation.

These courts have the support of the communities they serve, as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and local service providing agencies. Critical to the success of VTCs are veterans who volunteer to be trained and serve as mentors to justice-involved veterans.

This training program will: Introduce Veterans Treatment Courts as an effective intervention and an alternative to incarceration for justice-involved veterans; Identify the unique issues which contribute to veterans’ involvement in the criminal justice system at the local, state and federal levels; Highlight the inception of Veterans Treatment Courts and the role they play in improving public safety, reducing recidivism, saving taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, restoring the lives of those who have served our country; Showcase model Veterans Treatment Court Programs, including Veterans Peer Mentor Programs; Demonstrate how to implement and sustain an effective VTC, including the vital role of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Veteran Peer Mentors; and Provide resources and next steps for jurisdictions interested in implementing a Veterans Treatment Court or looking to improve an existing program.

Veterans Treatment Courts cover

This program on justice-involved veterans, highlights the lifesaving role being played by veterans treatment courts (VTCs) across the country.

From WWII through the continuing global war on terror, there are approximately 21.5 million veterans in the U.S. today. So many of these men, and increasingly women, return home damaged mentally and physically from their time in service. These wounds often contribute to their involvement in the criminal justice system. As a result, veterans are overrepresented in our jails and prisons.

For these justice-involved vets, Veterans Treatment Courts are providing a pathway to recovery so that they can be restored to functioning and contributing members of society.

Veterans Treatment Courts, or VTCs, provide hope, restore families and save lives. The first VTC, founded in 2008 in Buffalo, New York, has inspired the creation of more than 220 courts of similar nature in jurisdictions, both large and small, across the country. Hundreds more are in various stages of planning and implementation.

These courts have the support of the communities they serve, as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and local service providing agencies. Critical to the success of VTCs are veterans who volunteer to be trained and serve as mentors to justice-involved veterans.

This training program will: Introduce Veterans Treatment Courts as an effective intervention and an alternative to incarceration for justice-involved veterans; Identify the unique issues which contribute to veterans’ involvement in the criminal justice system at the local, state and federal levels; Highlight the inception of Veterans Treatment Courts and the role they play in improving public safety, reducing recidivism, saving taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, restoring the lives of those who have served our country; Showcase model Veterans Treatment Court Programs, including Veterans Peer Mentor Programs; Demonstrate how to implement and sustain an effective VTC, including the vital role of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Veteran Peer Mentors; and Provide resources and next steps for jurisdictions interested in implementing a Veterans Treatment Court or looking to improve an existing program.

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