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Struggling vets complete worthwhile Mission

Like Operation Recovery in Mecklenburg County, Worcester District Court in MA has a program, Mission Direct Vet, to divert veterans from jail.  This article gives examples of how the structure of this program has helped two of its graduates turn their lives around.

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Trauma-Informed Care Workshop

Trauma-Informed Care Workshop

 

Cutting-edge court for veterans already running at capacity

La Crosse Tribune, 27 January 2013

“Two tours in Iraq left John suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism. He was a successful retired U.S. Army master sergeant who found himself home and in trouble with the law. A family member searching for resources discovered the La Crosse Area Veterans Court Program. John, who spoke on condition his real name not be used because of the sensitivity of his situation, was accepted into the specialized treatment court after taking responsibility for a felony drunken driving offense. Similar to a drug court, the veterans court seeks to rehabilitate offenders through treatment programs rather than simply punish them with fines or jail.”

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New Tools Identify Substance Use Treatment Needs in Criminal Justice System

People in prisons and jails are four times more likely to have a substance use disorder than the general public, yet services for this population are sorely lacking, according to experts at George Mason University. They have developed several screening tools designed to improve substance use treatment in the criminal justice system.
Both treatment and justice agencies would benefit from screening for criminal justice risk, as well as substance use disorders, according to Faye Taxman, PhD, of the university’s Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence! (ACE!) program in Fairfax, Virginia. “More than 30 percent of offenders could benefit from residential treatment, but less than 5 percent in prison, jail or community corrections have access to such services,” she says.

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Maine jails working to help veterans

Local courts have yet to host a veterans court, but local veterans hope to find their way into a specially created court anyway.

Two local veterans have asked to be taken to a segregated area of the Kennebec County Jail in Augusta and appear before the state’s only veterans court judge, Justice Nancy Mills.

Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty has hosted people from York, Somerset and Waldo counties in his “vet block.” And he’s ready to accept people from Androscoggin County into his program at the Augusta jail, if they qualify.

It would be the first such move for local veterans since the Maine Legislature approved the vet court plan in March 2012.

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Why Are so Many Veterans in Prison?

Following what is quickly becoming a nation-wide trend in the U.S., the Indian Creek Correctional Center in Chesapeake, Virginia, recently opened a veterans-only dorm to house prisoners who are former soldiers. In dedicating the new wing, state correctional officials announced that they hoped that the veterans-only facility will help veterans complete their sentences and avoid prison in future. Along with Virginia, other U.S. states including Florida and Georgia have also opened up veterans-only prison facilities to address the rising problem of returning military veterans who get in trouble with the law.

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At VA, peer counselors connect with struggling veterans

A decade ago, gripped by alcoholism and drug addiction, Navy veteran Albert Krull contemplated jumping off the Tobin Bridge spanning the Mystic River in Boston.

Instead, Krull decided to seek treatment at the nearby Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bedford, Mass., where today he serves as a peer counselor for other veterans at the same hospital that helped restore his life.

Jason Zimmerman, an Army medic who served in both Bosnia and Iraq, experienced horrors he said most civilians cannot begin to comprehend, such as “your friends dying, no matter what you do.”

Zimmerman said he figured these experiences would fade with time, but they didn’t. He first sought counsel with a chaplain at Fort Bragg, N.C., and then with other veterans who understood the overwhelming terror of combat. The support he received from those encounters helped as he struggled with both deep depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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E-Learning Course: Safety at Home

Safety at Home – Intimate Partner Violence, Military Personnel,  and Veterans

The Battered Women’s Justice Project (BWJP) is pleased to announce the release of four modules of the e-learning course, Safety at Home – Intimate Partner Violence, Military Personnel, and Veterans. The course is designed for advocates (military and civilian) who provide services to military-related families experiencing intimate partner violence.

Click here for additional courses that they offer.

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60 Minutes Special on veterans court

An alternative court program in Harris County, Texas, seeks to rehabilitate veterans who turn to crime for the first time. Scott Pelley reports. This is a 12:44 minute video about an innovative justice program that provides a treatment diversion program for veterans with PTSD.

Watch below:

Or click here to watch at CBSNews.com

Criminal Justice Involvement, Trauma, and Negative Affect in Iraq and Afghanistan War Era Veterans

Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who struggle with the anger and emotional outbursts of combat trauma are more than twice as likely as other veterans to be arrested for criminal misbehavior, new research has confirmed.

The new study, published Oct. 1 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, for the first time draws a direct correlation between combat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the anger it can cause and criminal misbehavior.

The study of 1,388 combat veterans was completed by a group of researchers led by forensic psychologist Eric B. Elbogen of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Medicine. The researchers found that about 23 percent of those with PTSD and high irritability had been arrested for a criminal offense. Among all of the combat veterans studied, including those with and without combat trauma, 9 percent had been arrested since their combat deployment.

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Funded wholly or in part by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services through their Jail Diversion
and Trauma Recovery initiative (grant number 5H79SM059272-04) as a project of the
NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities & Substance Abuse Services