New York State Unified Court System
- Project Title: Replicating the Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court (Phase II)
- Priority Area: Veterans' Health
- Award Amount: $241,118
- Date Awarded: July 12, 2010
- Region: Western New York
- Grant Status: Complete
National studies have confirmed that many veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan face significant reintegration challenges. They are at higher risk for mental health or substance use issues, and face formidable barriers to accessing behavioral health services. Recognizing the unique challenges veterans face, Buffalo City Court, part of the New York State Unified Court System, added a veterans treatment court to its existing drug and mental health court treatment system in January 2008. This court was the first of its kind in the nation to offer services to rehabilitate veterans and successfully reintegrate them into their communities. To date, none of the participants have been reincarcerated or have experienced additional encounters with the criminal justice system.
Considering the success of Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court, NYSHealth seeks to fund the replication of this model in at least 10 jurisdictions in New York State. With the completion of Phase I (the process evaluation), the objectives of Phase II were threefold:
- Develop a two-day curriculum to be delivered to existing problem solving courts in New York State that have expressed interest in establishing veterans treatment courts in their jurisdictions.
- Conduct trainings for 10 court teams. The training will be held over two days with participants from teams from 10 New York State courts: five from the New York City/Albany regions, and five from Western New York.
- Replicate the Veterans Treatment Court within 10 court systems.
Even in its early stages, State and national leaders are looking to this model as a potential solution to the underlying causes (unmet mental health and substance use problems) for a growing number of veterans who encounter the criminal justice system because of nonviolent felonies or misdemeanor crimes.