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Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance for Vets Who Have Lost Their Way

"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.