Veterans Justice Outreach - Arkansas
We provide outreach services to eligible Veterans involved in the criminal justice system through partnership with local police departments, jails, probation and parole offices and the courts.
We provide outreach services to eligible Veterans involved in the criminal justice system through partnership with local police departments, jails, probation and parole offices and the courts. The primary goal is to provide treatment services as an alternative to incarceration. Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks (VHSO) partners with the Washington County Veterans Treatment Court and with the Benton County Veterans Treatment Court to offer 15-month treatment/diversion programs. VHSO partners with the Sebastian County Veterans Treatment Court to offer a 20-month treatment/division program. These specialized courts seek to divert eligible Veteran defendants with substance abuse dependency and/or mental health issues that have been charged with primarily low-level felony offenses into treatment at VHSO.
Eligibility for Veterans Treatment Court
- Veteran is facing a felony charge that is not likely to be reduced under PC 17b.
- Veteran is either:
- A Veteran with an honorable discharge or general discharge under honorable conditions.
- Veteran's service was in any of the following:
- any of the five branches of the United States military
- The National Guard
- The Reserves
- Veteran has history of substance abuse or a mental health issue.
- Veteran resides in Benton or Washington county.
- In some cases, county transfers may be considered.
- Veteran does not qualify for services through the VA.
- Veteran is an active gang member/associate.
- Present case is a serious felony (per PC 1192.7).
- Present case involves arson, child abuse, or elder abuse.
- Present case involves furnishing to a minor.
- Veteran is approved for Veteran Treatment Court by the prosecuting attorney's office
Key Components to the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program Are
- Provide training and education relating to judicially-approved options to incarceration or judicial penalties for Veterans involved with key intercept points: law enforcement agencies, jails, and courts.
- Provide a check-list to justice involved agencies that help with early identification of Veterans eligible for VA services and refer them to the VJO Coordinators.
- Assist Veterans involved in the justice system with determination of VA eligibility and subsequent referral to appropriate VA services.
- Assess encountered Veteran’s mental health care needs and identify appropriate VA and non-VA services. Refer and link the Veteran to appropriate mental health, medical, and/or appropriate treatment services.
- Assist judiciary, parole/probation, jail, and law enforcement officials with completed Release of Information forms that allow communication essential to services (attendance, progress, treatment, testing, and discharge plan).
- Collaborate with Health Care for Reentry Veterans (HCRV) Specialist to support early engagement in care for Veterans recently discharged from state or federal prisons.
What a Veterans Justice Outreach Can Do
- Serve Veterans of all eras, assess Veteran’s health care needs, identify appropriate VA and non-VA services.
- Refer and link Veteran to comprehensive health care services.
- With Veteran consent, communicate essentials to the court and other members of the legal community (attendance, progress, treatment testing, discharge plan).
- Function as a court team member.
What a Veterans Justice Outreach Can't Do
- Perform forensic psychiatric/psychological evaluations for the court, accept custody, guarantee program acceptance.
- Write lengthy court reports, complete diversion paperwork, advocate for legislation or serve VHA ineligible Veterans.
- Decide criminal justice criteria for Veteran Court participation or decide who gains admission to specialty treatment court.