Veterans’ Health

Project Title

Replicating the Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court (Phase II)

Grant Amount

$241,118

Priority Area

Veterans’ Health

Date Awarded

July 12, 2010

Region

Statewide

Status

Closed

SEE GRANT OUTCOMES

An alarming number of returning veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and substance use issues. Sometimes these challenges lead to involvement with the criminal justice system.

First developed in 2008, the Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) is a specialized court model that intervenes in cases for minor criminal acts involving veterans and seeks to meet the unique needs of these returning veterans by offering culturally sensitive support for mental health, substance use, unemployment, and homelessness. This court was the first of its kind in the nation to offer services to rehabilitate veterans and successfully reintegrate them into their communities. In 2009, the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) funded the New York State Unified Court System to conduct an evaluation of the Buffalo VTC program and identify the key elements of its success. In 2010, NYSHealth awarded New York State Unified Court System a second grant to replicate the VTC in 10 jurisdictions across New York State.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.