Projects

Projects web_admin Fri, 01/07/2022 - 15:38
  • Veterans Treatment Court Survey

    The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in partnership with the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), collaborated on a survey of Veterans Treatment Courts. The intent of this survey is to gather current data from existing Veterans Treatment Court Programs on performance and outcome measures. These measures are critical to justify programs and ensure long-term funding and program sustainability.

  • Barracks Behind Bars: In Veteran-Specific Housing Units, Veterans Help Veterans Help Themselves

    This paper is the second in the National Institute of Corrections justice-involved veteran compendium project. It illuminates programs in jails across the country and how justice involved veterans have been helped by them. It illustrates the design, development, implementation, and sustainment of initiatives taken by enlightened, pragmatic corrections officials who have set up veteran-specific housing—in pods, dorms, units, wings, or floors—and programming for military veterans.

  • National Veterans Treatment Court Enhancement Initiative

    This NIC publication tells the story of these veterans and the judges, advocates, and treatment professionals who are working with both passion and compassion to ensure a second chance for vets referred to the criminal justice system. The report is based on a series of interviews and personal observations from key professionals intimately involved in the founding and operation of these courts. In this publication, they relay how veterans treatment courts are “the right thing to do” for justice-involved veterans who commit certain crimes associated with the lingering legacy of their wartime experiences.

  • Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance for Vets Who Have Lost Their Way [Internet Broadcast]

    This six-segment program on justice-involved veterans, highlights the lifesaving role being played by veterans treatment courts (VTCs) across the country.

  • VICTOR - Veteran Informed Care Training On Responsivity

    NIC partnered with the Center for Court Innovation out of New York to develop a curriculum that focused on the responsivity issues of justice-involved veterans; looking at military culture, service-related trauma, difficulties of transitioning from military to civilian life, and building basic skills for staff to more effectively manage the justice-involved veterans on their caseloads.

  • Veterans Compendium Project

    NIC is looking to extend the veterans treatment court white paper project to include more of the continuum of criminal justice—from arrest to local jail, and then on the backend of the criminal justice system with prison and reentry. NIC's next project focused on the promising and innovative practices in local jails and state prisons focusing on justice-involved veterans; how the Veterans Administration interacts with both settings, works with justice-involved veterans, assists with benefits, continuity of care, and links to services (e.g., treatment, housing, etc.).

  • Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance For Vets Who Have Lost Their Way [Webinar May-2016]

    This live webinar is an overview and introduction to NIC's publication: Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance For Vets Who Have Lost Their Way

Veterans Treatment Court Survey

Veterans Treatment Court Survey web_admin Fri, 01/07/2022 - 15:39

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in partnership with the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), collaborated on a survey of Veterans Treatment Courts. It is critical for the success of NIC, our federal partners, and the field to foster collaborative relationships and to share information with each other in order to make informed decisions about policy and practice, and to develop best practices.

We are asking for your assistance to help us understand how Veterans Treatment Courts (VTC) across the country are documenting their effectiveness. For justice-involved veterans, VTC’s are providing a pathway to recovery so that they can be restored to functioning and contributing members of society. VTC’s provide hope, restore families, and save lives. The first VTC, founded in 2008 in Buffalo, New York, has inspired the creation of more than 220 similar courts - both large and small- across the country. Hundreds more are in various stages of planning and implementation. As VTC’s are still being developed, we don’t know a great deal about them.

If you are the key person in your VTC program who develops and reports on metrics and progress with your program, please complete this survey. If you are not that person, but know who it, please provide their contact information so we can forward the survey to the appropriate individual.

About the Survey: The intent of this survey is to gather current data from existing Veterans Treatment Court Programs on performance and outcome measures. These measures are critical to justify programs and ensure long-term funding and program sustainability. This information would be used for the following:

  • Identify standard measures being utilized across the country and make this information available to the field as a potential resource;
  • Demonstrate the success of Veterans Treatment Courts as an effective intervention and alternative to incarceration; and
  • Help inform our future work for Veterans specific initiatives.

As part of the survey process, we plan to have inclusive e-mail back and forth dialogue with participants based on input from this initial survey to hone in on successful practices, standard measures and findings of benefit for Veterans. We plan to share findings from this survey, and any new questions that emerge, with all the responding participants. We will also share draft and final reports with participants also so you can glean benefits from this work for your VTCs. We look forward to your survey responses and hope you and your colleagues share your experiences and thoughts with us.

Download the Treatment Court Survey

Mouse Over the Document and Scroll

Barracks Behind Bars: In Veteran-Specific Housing Units, Veterans Help Veterans Help Themselves

Barracks Behind Bars: In Veteran-Specific Housing Units, Veterans Help Veterans Help Themselves web_admin Fri, 01/07/2022 - 15:42

This paper is the second in the National Institute of Corrections justice-involved veteran compendium project. It illuminates programs in jails across the country and how justice involved veterans have been helped by them. It illustrates the design, development, implementation, and sustainment of initiatives taken by enlightened, pragmatic corrections officials who have set up veteran-specific housing—in pods, dorms, units, wings, or floors—and programming for military veterans.

Barracks Behind Bars introduces several of the facilities and the men and women whose vision is paying off with reportedly fewer behavioral problems and incidents of violence by incarcerated veterans. This may contribute to a less stressful, safer environment for correctional personnel and facilitates opportunities for assistance from the Veterans Justice Outreach specialists of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, personnel from state and county departments, and volunteers from community and veterans organizations. This white paper shares the views of jail administrators, judges, and formerly incarcerated veterans – each of whom have stories to tell – in their own words.

"At one time in their lives, these men took an oath to protect us. If they were willing to lay themselves on the line for us, we owe them this much."

From Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, Middlesex County House of Corrections, HUMV

"Prisons and jails are starting to recognize that bringing together veterans in a confined setting benefits discipline and order."

From Evan Seamon, Major, Army Reserve and advisor to veterans at the Harvard Veterans Legal Clinic

Download the Barracks Behind Bars PDF

To request physical copies of Barracks Behind Bars please contact the NIC Information Center using the helpdesk form.

National Veterans Treatment Court Enhancement Initiative

National Veterans Treatment Court Enhancement Initiative web_admin Fri, 01/07/2022 - 15:58

Veterans treatment courts respond to the unique circumstances of veterans entering the justice system. The veterans treatment court first emerged in the mid-2000s. As of this writing, there are more than 600 in the country, with scores more being planned. The rapid proliferation of veterans treatment courts has created a heightened need for evidence-based tools to identify the criminogenic risks and clinical needs of court-involved veterans and to promote best practices such as multidisciplinary case planning and client monitoring. Research has consistently shown that clinical interventions are most effective when they are based on risk-need-responsivity principles, which hold that the type and intensity of treatment and supervision services should be proportional to an offender's risk of re-offending and should target their specific criminogenic needs. This project creates and pilots the first specialized risk-need assessment and case planning tools for veterans treatment courts.

The National Institute of Corrections and the Bureau of Justice Assistance originally partnered with the Center for Court Innovation to develop the first set of specialized screening, assessment, and case planning tools for Veterans Treatment Courts. NIC is now partnering with American University to further advance the project by converting all the tools and training to a virtual and automated platform. By incorporating the latest research on trauma, substance use disorders, and other issues affecting veterans, these tools are designed to help veterans treatment courts meet the special needs of justice-involved veterans.

The Veterans Treatment Court Enhancement Initiative produced three tools:

  1. Short screener: A short pre-adjudication screening tool will identify veterans as they enter the justice system and measure their risk of re-offending. This tool will help justice system officials identify suitable candidates for veterans treatment court and refer them for a full assessment.
  2. Comprehensive risk-need assessment: A comprehensive risk-need assessment tool will enable veterans treatment court staff to learn more about individuals’ criminogenic risks and needs. This information will help veterans treatment courts confirm participant eligibility and understand each participant’s risk-need profile for case planning purposes.
  3. Case planning protocol: A set of case planning guidelines will help veterans treatment courts develop individualized supervision and case plans for each participant based on their risk-need profiles.

Pilot Sites in 2020:

  • Rochester, New York
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • San Francisco, California
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina

American University will be looking to add multiple sites in 2021.

If interested please contact, Dr. Julie Baldwin at jbaldwin@american.edu

Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance for Vets Who Have Lost Their Way (White Paper)

Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance for Vets Who Have Lost Their Way (White Paper) web_admin Fri, 01/07/2022 - 16:00

This NIC publication, officially released during a live webinar event on May 17, 2016, is now available.

Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance for Vets Who Have Lost Their Way tells the story of these veterans and the judges, advocates, and treatment professionals who are working with both passion and compassion to ensure a second chance for vets referred to the criminal justice system. The report is based on a series of interviews and personal observations from key professionals intimately involved in the founding and operation of these courts. In this publication, they relay how veterans treatment courts are “the right thing to do” for justice-involved veterans who commit certain crimes associated with the lingering legacy of their wartime experiences.

Court staff and graduates of veterans treatment court programs—which use a carrot-and-stick approach to rehabilitate rather than overtly punish—describe, in often exquisite detail, what their roles are and how they have come to embrace the concept of these courts. 

“What a wonderful way to tell the story! [A Second Chance for Veterans Who Have Lost Their Way] is a great philosophical primer to help shift conventional criminal justice mindsets from normal 'business as usual' practices to the much more effective therapeutic model of a Veterans Treatment Court. It is definitely a blueprint for establishing and maintaining Veterans Courts in any jurisdiction! I wish I had this on my desk when we began our journey to establish our court. It would have eliminated a lot of trial and error.

I highly recommend this to anyone who is thinking about setting up a Veterans Court and also to those folks who already have one in place as the information in there can be of great assistance in maintaining the program.”

From Judge Vance W. Peterson, Spokane County District Court, Veterans Court:

View A Second Chance on NIC's main website  

To request physical copies of A Second Chance please contact the NIC Information Center.  

Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance for Vets Who Have Lost Their Way [Internet Broadcast]

Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance for Vets Who Have Lost Their Way [Internet Broadcast] web_admin Fri, 01/07/2022 - 16:03

This program on justice-involved veterans, highlights the lifesaving role being played by veterans treatment courts (VTCs) across the country.

From WWII through the continuing global war on terror, there are approximately 21.5 million veterans in the U.S. today. So many of these men, and increasingly women, return home damaged mentally and physically from their time in service. These wounds often contribute to their involvement in the criminal justice system. As a result, veterans are overrepresented in our jails and prisons.

For these justice-involved vets, Veterans Treatment Courts are providing a pathway to recovery so that they can be restored to functioning and contributing members of society.

Veterans Treatment Courts, or VTCs, provide hope, restore families and save lives. The first VTC, founded in 2008 in Buffalo, New York, has inspired the creation of more than 300 courts of similar nature in jurisdictions, both large and small, across the country. Hundreds more are in various stages of planning and implementation.

These courts have the support of the communities they serve, as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and local service providing agencies. Critical to the success of VTCs are veterans who volunteer to be trained and serve as mentors to justice-involved veterans.

This training program will: Introduce Veterans Treatment Courts as an effective intervention and an alternative to incarceration for justice-involved veterans; Identify the unique issues which contribute to veterans’ involvement in the criminal justice system at the local, state and federal levels; Highlight the inception of Veterans Treatment Courts and the role they play in improving public safety, reducing recidivism, saving taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, restoring the lives of those who have served our country; Showcase model Veterans Treatment Court Programs, including Veterans Peer Mentor Programs; Demonstrate how to implement and sustain an effective VTC, including the vital role of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Veteran Peer Mentors; and Provide resources and next steps for jurisdictions interested in implementing a Veterans Treatment Court or looking to improve an existing program.

Click Here to view Internet Broadcast on NIC's main website  

VICTOR - Veteran Informed Care Training On Responsivity

VICTOR - Veteran Informed Care Training On Responsivity web_admin Fri, 01/07/2022 - 16:05

VICTOR:
Curriculum Development for Veteran Informed Care Training on Responsivity

NIC partnered with the Center for Court Innovation out of New York to develop a curriculum that focused on the responsivity issues of justice-involved veterans; looking at military culture, service-related trauma, difficulties of transitioning from military to civilian life, and building basic skills for staff to more effectively manage the justice-involved veterans on their caseloads. NIC is now partnering with American University to pilot test the training program before making it available to the field.

The core skills would include: active listening, effective use of reinforcement, effective use of disapproval (with and without punishment), and effective use of authority. Ultimately, the goal is to improve outcomes for justice-involved veterans by increasing the skills of the professionals who work with veterans.

Course Description

The Veteran-Informed Care Training on Responsivity (VICTOR) is a training curriculum designed for criminal justice practitioners to gain specialized knowledge and skills for working with veterans. Data consistently shows that court based interventions and programs are most effective when practitioners have specialized training. Accordingly, VICTOR is designed to help practitioners understand the unique needs of veterans and their underlying criminogenic risk factors. The VICTOR curriculum is an educational resource on responsivity issues related to working with justice-involved veterans.

There are approximately 23 million veterans living in the United States, representing over seven percent of the U.S. population. Many active-duty soldiers return home with chronic nightmares, flashbacks, and emotional hypersensitivity—and many veterans are diagnosed with PTSD upon return. Countless others suffer daily from the side effects of trauma, yet do not come to the attention of mental health or medical providers.

Due to the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is facing an additional influx of veterans who return home only to face new battles with mental illness, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, homelessness, and despair. The over two million U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq display an incidence of psychological damage significantly higher than the incidence of physical injuries. Approximately one out of six veterans returning from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq has a substance use disorder, and one in five has symptoms of a mental health disorder or cognitive impairment. By 2008, 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans had been diagnosed with depression or PTSD, both afflictions that have been shown to increase the likelihood of substance abuse and violent behavior. 

As in the general population, veterans experiencing mental health disorders or substance abuse problems frequently exhibit behavioral symptoms that place them at risk for justice system involvement. In 2008, research on hospitalized veterans found that alcohol and drug problems appeared to account for much of the risk of incarceration among this population and an estimated 60 percent of the 140,000 veterans in prison have a substance abuse problem. A study by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2004 found that nearly one in ten inmates in U.S. jails had prior military service.

The criminal justice system and the professionals who work within it must be responsive to the needs of veterans who come through the nation’s police stations, courthouses, and jails. Veterans treatment courts are one popular avenue for addressing the needs of veterans in the criminal justice system. However, there are other types of programs, skills, and approaches which can help courthouses and practitioners practice “veteran-informed care.” The course will cover these programs, skills, and approaches so that practitioners can be more responsive to the needs of veterans in the criminal justice system.

Course Objectives

After completing this training, you will be able to:

  • understand the difference between explicit vs. implicit military culture;
  • understand how veteran and military culture may impact a veteran’s experience and behavior in the courtroom setting;
  • understand the basics of risk, need, and responsivity;
  • demonstrate active listening skills;
  • understand the landscape of services available for veterans; and
  • understand how the confluence of mental health, substance use, and military experience may lead to interactions with the criminal justice system.

The curriculum is divided into five substantive modules, covering the following topics:

  1. Military and Veteran Culture.
    Module 1 provides information and insight into military and veteran culture. Lesson 1: Military Culture contains an overview of military structure, service roles, and major aspects of military culture. Lesson 2: Veteran Culture asks you to consider the question, who is a veteran? Once you have explored the criteria used to determine veteran status, participants will learn how the challenges involved in the transition from the military back to civilian life leads some veterans to become justice-involved.
  2. Risk Assessment.
    In Lesson 1: Risk, Need, and Responsivity, you learn how evidence-based screening and assessment is used to differentiate offenders according to risk level and needs. You will be introduced to the risk-need-responsivity model of offender rehabilitation and deepen your understanding of this model through independent study, group discussions, and activities. In Lesson 2: Risk Assessment for Veterans, participants learn how risk assessment can be utilized specifically with the justice-involved veteran population.
  3. Mental Health and Substance Use.
    Module 3 introduces the ways in which mental health and substance use disorders affects veterans, including the context in which they experience trauma, common symptoms of mental health disorders, and treatment approaches. Lesson 1: Mental Health, gives participants an overview of mental health issues prevalent in justice-involved veteran populations, and related treatment approaches. Lesson 2: Substance Use, informs participants about common substance use disorders amongst veterans, and discusses the relationship between substance use and mental health.
  4. Navigating Veterans’ Resources.
    Module 4 provides guidance on navigating the variety of important benefits and services available to veterans and to their families from the Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies. Lesson 1: Navigating the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs discusses the source of the most well-known veterans’ benefits, the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. Lesson 2: Other Veterans Resources identifies and explains useful resources outside the federal VA, including state departments of veterans affairs, community-based organizations, and the so-called Big Six veteran service organizations.
  5. Responsivity and Justice-Involved Veterans.
    In Lesson 1: Case Management, you will receive an overview of case management, including the functions and tasks of the case manager, and discover how case management can improve outcomes for justice-involved veterans. In Lesson 2: Responsivity in the Criminal Justice System, participants discuss several aspects of responsivity in the criminal justice system: veterans treatment courts, procedural justice, domestic violence issues, and corrections-based programming. Lesson 2 also introduces the sequential intercept model for justice-involved veterans and explains how this model can help practitioners identify opportunities for linkage to services, and prevent further involvement in the criminal justice system.

NIC Veterans Initiatives and Compendium Project

NIC Veterans Initiatives and Compendium Project web_admin Fri, 01/07/2022 - 16:06

As a center of learning, innovation and leadership that shapes and advances correctional practice and public policy, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) devotes a portion of its focus to the critical needs of justice-involved veterans.

Background

The National Institute of Corrections first veteran-specific project was a collaborative effort with author Bernard Edelman of Vietnam Veterans of America to develop a white paper on Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs). This publication served as a how-to guide for jurisdictions looking to implement or improve upon an existing program and to bring awareness to the unique issues of justice-involved veterans. Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance for Vets Who Have Lost Their Way and its executive summary was officially released in a live webinar event on May 17, 2016. This publication served as a platform for all NIC veteran-specific initiatives, including a live national broadcast bearing the same name as the publication.

In December 2016, the National Institute of Corrections officially established the Justice-Involved Veterans Network (JIVN). The JIVN is a cross-divisional effort among the community services, jails, and prisons divisions of the National Institute of Corrections in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The network is inclusive of the continuum of criminal justice that includes leaders at the federal, state, and county levels. Ultimately, the network looks to improve safety for law enforcement, community supervision officers, and the public while improving outcomes for veterans throughout the criminal justice system.

About the Veterans Compendium Project

NIC is looking to extend the veterans treatment court white paper project to include more of the continuum of criminal justice—from arrest to local jail, and then on the backend of the criminal justice system with prison and reentry. NIC's next project focused on the promising and innovative practices in local jails and state prisons focusing on justice-involved veterans; how the Veterans Administration interacts with both settings, works with justice-involved veterans, assists with benefits, continuity of care, and links to services (e.g., treatment, housing, etc.).

Barracks Behind Bars: In Veteran-Specific Housing Units, Veterans Help Veterans Help Themselves was officially released on May 17, 2018 during a live event held at the Library of Congress in anticipation of and in support of PTSD Awareness Month. The publication also includes the sequential intercept model adapted to the veteran population with resources for each intercept. The sequential intercept model was developed by Mark Munetz, MD, and Patricia A. Griffin, Ph.D., in conjunction with the GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation, a division of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The model provides a conceptual framework for communities to organize targeted strategies for justice-involved individuals with behavioral health disorders.

NIC worked collaboratively with SAMHSA, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and members of the Justice-Involved Veterans Network to adapt the model for the justice-involved veterans population.

NIC’s next phase of the veteran compendium project will focus on law enforcement practices that improve outcomes for veterans in crisis in the community. This white paper will also address specialized training for law enforcement officers around veteran specific issues, including military culture and mental health issues relating to military service. The project team completed 4 site visits, including Raleigh, North Carolina, New Castle County, Delaware; Dayton, Ohio; and Salt Lake City, Utah. A first draft of the publication was received on May 15, 2018. NIC and project members will begin the editing process and anticipates an FY19 release.

We identify common themes while at the same time respecting the nuances of each of the sites featured in the publications. We gather information through interviews with corrections personnel, law enforcement, veterans/inmates, community members, and the VA Specialists (Veterans Justice Outreach and Health Care for Reentry Veterans) who work with justice-involved veterans throughout the continuum of justice.

Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance For Vets Who Have Lost Their Way [Webinar May-2016]

Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance For Vets Who Have Lost Their Way [Webinar May-2016] web_admin Tue, 03/15/2022 - 11:08