Process Evaluation of Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court
August 17, 2009
ClosedSEE GRANT OUTCOMES
The Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court (BVTC) has pioneered a collaborative program to keep veterans with minor, non-violent offenses out of jail, and requires a formal process evaluation to successfully replicate the program throughout New York State.
This grant initiates the project’s first phase in which a formal process evaluation of the BVTC program will be conducted by an external evaluator. The second phase of the project will use the evaluation results to develop a training curriculum for local court systems interested in establishing their own veterans treatment courts.
Many of New York’s returning veterans suffer from mental health conditions that impede them from reintegrating into life at home, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, and Traumatic Brain Injury. These veterans face complicated bureaucratic systems, stigma for mental health issues in the military, and a shortage of behavioral health workers. If their conditions are not treated in a timely manner, veterans are at higher risk of getting involved with the criminal justice system. The Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court connects veterans with rehabilitation services when they are charged with non-violent felonies or misdemeanor crimes. Through the coordinated participation of the Unified Court System in Buffalo and the Veterans Court Treatment Team, the Buffalo Veterans Affairs Health Center, Volunteer Veteran Mentors, veterans organizations, and community health partners, the program has successfully guided veterans into stable treatment, employment, and education programs. Many New York State court systems are interested in implementing their own programs, and Federal legislation is being considered that would provide funding for veteran courts on a national level. This grant will allow BVTC to conduct the necessary process evaluation that will enable it to establish guidelines and training for future veteran court programs across the State and country.