Veterans Treatment Courts MISSION To serve Tennessee Veterans and their family members with dignity and compassion as an entrusted advocate. VISION To connect Veterans, dependents and survivors with federal, state and local employment, educational and financial resources as well as benefits. To establish state Veterans homes and cemeteries within a 75 mile radius of the state’s Veteran population. To ensure Tennessee court systems are educated on the need for Veteran dockets and to ensure at-risk Veterans are educated on federal health benefits. To establish innovative secure streamlined processes and program to provide high-quality customer service to Veterans and their families. To provide claims assistance training to TDVA employees and County Service Officers to ensure Veterans and family members receive highly qualified, updated and consistent service. Tennessee Veteran Statistics • Veteran Population – 521,267 • Wartime – 383,913 • • • • World War II – 25,095 Korean Conflict – 48,546 Vietnam Era – 184,469 Gulf War – 146,724 • Peacetime – 137,353 • Includes Veterans who have served in multiple conflicts Problems That Sometimes Occur After Deployment • • • • Depression (feeling down, losing interest, lack of energy) Suicidal thoughts and/or suicide (thinking or hurting/killing him or herself) Violence and abuse (verbal or physical, heated arguments) Substance abuse (self medications, excessive drinking or drinking in the morning to calm nerves) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) • Per the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA), PTSD occurs: • 11-20% of Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom) or 11-20 Veterans out of 100 • 10% of Gulf War (Desert Storm) Veterans or in 10 Veterans out of 100 • 30% of Vietnam Veterans or about 30 out of 100 Vietnam Veterans What is a Veterans Treatment Court (VTC)? • Specialized court/dockets established to address the needs of Veteran-defendants with substance dependency and/or mental illness issues • A group of primarily volunteers partnered to assist Veterandefendants with obtaining available resources • A voluntary program that offers arrested/convicted Veterans a second chance to restore their honor • Primarily for Veterans charged with a non-violent felony or misdemeanor offense Components of a VTC Defense Counsel Veteran Prosecution TDVA Veteran Mentor USDVA State DOL Dept of Health/ Recovery Court CVSO Judge and Court Staff Components of a VTC Veteran • Judge – presides over the hearing where rewards are given for successful behavior and sanctions are ordered for failure to meet program requirements Judge and Court Staff Components of a VTC Defense Counsel Veteran Prosecution • To facilitate the Veterans’ progress in treatment, the prosecutor and defense counsel shed their traditional adversarial courtroom relationship and work together as a team. Once a Veteran is accepted into the treatment program, the team’s focus is on the Veteran’s recovery and law-abiding behavior, not on the merits of the pending case Components of a VTC Veteran USDVA • Veterans’ Justice Outreach Liaison – Federal VA employee responsible for assessment, and case management for justice-involved Veterans in local courts and jails as well as serving as a liaison with local justice system partners Components of a VTC Veteran TDVA State DOL CVSO • State and County agencies who are accredited with the federal VA and are trained professionals who assist Veterans with obtaining federal and state benefits as well as resources to include jobs and job training, and education assistance Components of a VTC Veteran Veteran Mentor • Community volunteers assumed duties as a Veteran Mentor. Veteran Mentors work to ensure that every participating veteran in the Veterans Treatment Court program is linked with a fellow veteran who acts as a volunteer mentor, advocate, and ally to help the Veteran participants successfully readjust to civilian life. • Their active & supportive relationship, maintained throughout treatment, increases the likelihood that a Veteran will remain in treatment and improves his or her chances for sobriety and law-abiding behavior. Current VTC or Dockets in Tennessee • Shelby County – (NSA Memphis) • Montgomery County – (Ft. Campbell, KY) • Nashville/Davidson County (Docket) • Knox County House Joint Resolution No. 124 • To Honor Tennessee’s Veterans and service members and urge the establishment of Veterans Treatment Courts across Tennessee • Applaud Tennessee Judges for creating existing Veterans Treatment Courts/dockets • Strongly urge the Tennessee Supreme Court to: • Educate Tennessee Judges the importance of providing assistance to justice-involved Veterans • Take appropriate measures to support the creation of new Veterans Treatment Courts Funding for a VTC?