May 2019
Spotlight
For National Drug Court Month, the Veterans Justice and Mental Health Newsletter is highlighting the veterans treatment court (VTC). The VTC is a type of specialized court that diverts offenders who have a record of US military service from traditional criminal justice case processing to program participation. The VTC program aims to address the underlying causes and correlates of participants’ criminal behavior. The goal is to facilitate successful transition into civilian life (previously referred to as re-integration) by connecting participants to services and mandating treatment participation and the completion of other program requirements. Under varying degrees of supervision, VTC participants remain in the community during the program. Through supervision and addressing the issues related to criminal behavior, VTCs strive to reduce participants’ future contact with the criminal justice system and increase public safety.

The VTC concept has become the fastest growing specialized court program , reaching an overall dissemination level second only to that of drug courts. While the concept emerged in the mid-2000 s , a VTC   model eventually developed and began to be widely publicized in 2009   . Since then, more than 400 VTC programs   have been implemented by jurisdictions across the majority of states. To find a VTC in or near your jurisdiction, search the National Drug Court Resource Center’s map and database .

As a researcher with practitioner experience, I understand the importance of VTC research to both be conducted and made accessible to a wide audience. As such, we consistently highlight these studies in the Research section of our newsletter. Check out this month’s section below, our archived newsletters   (bottom of the NDCRC homepage), and the Drug Court Review's Winter 2018   issue that focuses specifically on VTCs.

Dr. Julie Baldwin
Associate Director of Research
Justice Programs Office, American University
Research
Julie Marie Baldwin and Erika J. Brooke
The authors analyze the basic assumptions and foundations underlying the VTC concept. They call attention to the need for further inquiry and assessments of these diverse programs from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.

Anne Douds and Eileen Ahlin
This recently-released book examines various components of VTCs. The holistic text addresses a wide audience of scholars, policymakers, judges, academics, students, and practitioners.

Tyler Vaughn, Lisa Holleran Bell, and Rachel Brooks
This article examines the militaristic context of a VTC in Texas. The authors analyze how military culture and policies shape the VTC program’s approach to rehabilitation, highlighting the pros and cons of using the military structure in the criminal justice system.

Sarah Meshberg-Cohen, Anne Black, Jason DeViva, Ismene Petrakis, and Marc Rosen
This study analyzes retention rates of a buprenorphine treatment program. They found that most PTSD-diagnosed veterans diagnosed were not receiving concurrent trauma-based care and retention rates were higher among those who did receive such care.

Andrew Hale, Jessica Rodriguez, Theodore Wright, Scott Driesenga, and Richard Spates
In a sample of 123 veterans, cognitive processing therapy (CPT) reduced PTSD symptoms (average of 1 point per session), regardless of age and education. Veterans with higher scores for antisocial behavior propensity experienced an increased change rate; those with higher Somatic Complaint scores reported less change in PTSD symptoms. The researchers highlight areas for further research.

The Drug Court Review invites manuscript submissions for the Winter 2019 issue focusing on tribal healing to wellness court programs and rural treatment court programs. The deadline for submissions is July 21, 2019, with a publication date of January 2020.
Practitioner Publications
National Association of Drug Court Professionals
This toolkit provides a host of ideas for promoting and advocating for your VTC, such as how to ask a senator to attend your next graduation and how to post effective content on social media. Writing examples and awareness fact sheets are included.

National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics
Released in March 2019, the slides report veteran demographics across the United States, providing many comparisons (e.g., veterans and nonveterans, males and females). 
Multimedia Resources
(Webinars, Podcasts, Online Resources)
Justice Programs Office at American University
Synthetic drugs are extremely dangerous and notoriously hard to test for because of constantly changing chemical formulas. In this webinar, Dr. Leo Kadehjian (a prominent drug testing consultant) addresses myths and mysteries of synthetically manufactured drugs. An updated fact sheet and slides are also available.

Take Part
This brief video explains what VTCs are, the reasoning behind them, and their purpose.

Health Management Associates
This webinar provides private clinicians with tools and resources to respond to veterans’ healthcare needs, especially regarding PTSD and TBIs. It also addresses how to engage with veterans services such as the VA to ensure patients receive treatments and benefits available to them.
Policy
Illinois House Resolution 60 Enacted March 13, 2019
This resolution urges members of the United States Congress to pass legislation supporting expanded treatment for veterans exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

This new act from West Virginia establishes a specialized treatment court for active service members and veterans under the state’s Supreme Court of Appeals. It disallows for any participant to be terminated within the first six months in the program and orders that each offender receive mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Arkansas Act 551 Enacted March 26, 2019
This act creates the Arkansas Legislative Study Veterans Affairs. The study is slated to examine, among other things, veterans’ suicides within the state how they can be prevented in the future.

Montana’s revisions call for all detention centers to record the veteran status of all detainees if located in the same county as a VTC. This information is then sent to the local VTC, which now has legal responsibility to inform detained veterans about the program and their eligibility.

Hawaii Senate Resolution 75 Adopted April 3, 2019
This resolution marks June 2019 as Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Month and June 27, 2019, as Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Day in the state of Hawaii.

This resolution urges the United States Congress to order the VA to provide funding for veterans to receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy—originally used for decompression in scuba divers—has shown great promise in treating traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in veterans and civilians.

Nebraska Legislative Resolution 68 Adopted April 9, 2019
This resolution marks June 2019 as Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Month and June 27, 2019, as Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Day in the state of Nebraska.

Arizona State Veterans’ Homes Act Enacted April 11, 2019
In addition to other measures, this act mandates the establishment of state-funded homes where veterans can live and receive necessary nursing care.

Arkansas License to Carry for Veterans Act Enacted April 11, 2019
This act allows veterans who have voluntarily completed mental health treatment to apply for concealed carry licenses. All applications must be dated at least two years after the completion of treatment, and the veteran must be deemed “mentally fit” at the time of request. 
In the News
Events Calendar
Make Plans! Upcoming Events Notice


May Events

May 13-15 – National Harbor, MD: VA Healthcare 2019 Conference
May 16-17 – Arlington, VA: 9th Annual Traumatic Brain Injury Conference
May 16-17: Hampton, VA: 2019 Virginia Women Veterans Summit
May 18 - 22 – San Francisco, CA: American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting
May 25 – Gunks Rock, NY: Gunks Rock Climb (Veterans Expeditions)

May 2, 2019 - Forks, WA
May 4, 2019 - Springfield, IL
May 9 - 10, 2019 - Scottsbluff, NE
May 11, 2019 - Coeur d'Alene, ID
May 14 - 16, 2019 - Roseville, CA
May 15, 2019 - Rome, NY
May 17, 2019 - Flagstaff, AZ
May 17, 2019 - Orange, TX
May 17-18, 2019 - Tallahassee. FL
May 18, 2019 - Chicago, IL
May 18, 2019 - Memphis, TN
May 22, 2019 - Atlantic City, NJ
May 22, 2019 - Lansing, MI
May 22, 2019 - Redmond, OR
May 23, 2019 - Rainelle, WV
May 25, 2019 - Nampa, ID
May 30-31, 2019 - Chicago, IL
Contribute to the Next Issue
To submit content for the next issue of this newsletter, please email ndcrc@american.edu with "Veterans’ Justice and Mental Health Newsletter” in the subject line.
Our mission is to inform policy, practice, and scholarship through the distribution of current veterans treatment court-related resources.   
The  National Drug Court Resource, Policy, and Evidence-Based Practice Center , funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and operated by the Justice Programs Office (JPO) at American University, strives to provide practitioners and professionals working in the drug court field with current resources and upcoming events.  Please email  ndcrc@american.edu  with any inquiries.
National Drug Court Resource Center | Justice Programs Office
ndcrc.org