VETERANS TREATMENT COURTS. Jay E. Town Prosecutor, State of Alabama AWP, Board of Directors

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1 VETERANS TREATMENT COURTS Jay E. Town Prosecutor, State of Alabama AWP, Board of Directors

2 BRIEF HISTORY OF VTCs Began in Buffalo, New York in 2008 Drug Court Model Judge Robert Russell Multiple Awards Over 100 currently exist No standardization! Why the expansion? GWOT Need for Diversionary Courts

3 What is a Veterans Treatment Court? A Veterans Treatment Court is a diversionary court that suspends adjudication of an eligible veteran s criminal charges while the participant ( the defendant ) completes all phases and rigors of the twelve-month VTC program which mandates a holistic approach of divers veterans services and treatment programs, to include mental health services, benefits, employment, housing, education, substance abuse treatment and any recognized program that is in the best interest of the VTC Participant.

4 Veterans Treatment Court Team VTC Judge Prosecutor Defense Counsel Admissions Committee $ CASE MANAGEMENT OFFICER & VTC COORDINATOR $ MENTAL HEALTH & ADDICTION SPECIALISTS Volunteer Mentors & Mentor Coordinator Various VTC Veterans Organization Liaisons Various VTC VA Liaisons Community Resource Coordinator Community Integration Legal Community Partnerships

5 How it works? Veteran is arrested for a VTC-eligible crime; Normally non-violent or delineated code section in Application. Domestic Violence can be eligible with victim consent. Trends. Veteran/Defendant makes VTC application, normally through counsel; Application is received by VTC Admissions Committee and approval is recommended to the Court; Judge accepts recommendation and Veteran/Defendant is admitted to VTC; Veteran/Defendant pleads GUILTY to the VTC-eligible crime per a plea agreement; Plea stops before adjudication (sentence announced) and Veteran/Defendant becomes a participant in VTC.

6 VTC Pillars of Success Diverting criminal prosecution of a qualified veteran while offering a holistic approach to veterans services and care. Ensuring that an impactful punishment remains possible upon a VTC Participant s failure to successfully complete the VTC Program. Provide a continuum of alcohol, drug and mental health treatment and rehabilitation services to VTC Participants. VTC Goals Provide the tools for sobriety, recovery and stability for VTC Participants. Discover, identify and secure any benefits and services owed a VTC Participant while mandating treatment for all physical, mental health and addiction issues. Track overall efficacy of the VTC Program to allow for continued assessment and improvement of the program while ensuring public safety and diminishing recidivism.

7 Things VTC Participant Should Expect Drug/Alcohol Screening and/or monitoring; Random home visits; Incentives and Sanctions; Enrollment in education and employer programs; Mandatory Treatment (ALL ISSUES); Full comprehension of THREE PHASES of VTC Program, Courtroom Etiquette & Mentor Roles.

8 THREE PHASES 1. Phase One: Orientation & Treatment Ø Minimum SIX Months 2. Phase Two: Recovery, Development & Reintegration Ø Minimum Three Months 3. Phase Three: Community Transition & Graduation Ø Three Months

9 PROGRAM DISCHARGE 1. Graduation: The VTC Participant has successfully completed all phases of the VTC Program and is better prepared to become a productive member of civilian society. 2. Voluntary Withdrawal: The VTC Participant makes the decision to withdraw from the program without sanction and accepts the previously suspended terms of the plea agreement. 3. Involuntary Withdrawal: The VTC Participant has failed to comply with the terms of any particular phase of the VTC Program and, often with added sanctions, is forced to accept the previously suspended terms of the plea agreement.

10 Phase 1: Orientation & Treatment Six Months (Minimum) Must attend EVERY VTC Docket. Primary treatment requirements identified; Full scope of supervision and court requirements are explained to the VTC Participant; Drug/Alcohol Testing is rigorous. Pursue, and make application for, qualified VA or DOD benefits. Note: Multiple failures should be expected.

11 Phase 2: Recovery, Development & Reintegration Three Months (Minimum) Must attend every other VTC Docket. Treatment continued and modified toward full recovery; Begin to minimize usage of prescription medicine; Begin reintegration of VTC Participant into community, to include education opportunities and labor force; Continue full supervision by mentors and case management officer; Drug/Alcohol Testing modified. Finalize application process for qualified VA or DOD benefits. Note: Relapse failures should still be expected.

12 Phase 3: Community Transition & Graduation Ø Three Months (Minimum) VTC Participant is normally unsupervised. Drug/Alcohol Testing is no longer required. Ø Treatment has fully integrated into VTC Participants routine, to include counseling, sobriety and pain management; Ø Qualified benefits have been granted or realized; Ø VTC Participant is fully independent without rigors of court supervision; Ø Graduation Ceremony & Case Dismissed.

13 Protections of Veteran Participant Ø Confidential information REMAINS confidential. What happens in VTC stays in VTC! Caveat (VTC Team Access) Ø Maintain all Constitutional rights. Ø Consent of Veteran Participant Ø Criminal background access Ø Information on current charges Ø Drug and Alcohol Screenings Ø Medical/Mental Health Records Ø Military Service Records

14 Saved Rounds Data Collection & Reporting Funding Sources State and Federal Government Veterans Organizations?? Other Sources about VTCs: America s Warrior Partnership Wounded Warrior Project American Bar Association: Coordinating Committee on Veterans Benefits & Services Buffalo Veterans Court website Justice For Vets State Bar Association

15 QUESTIONS?

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