Veterans Justice Outreach - Southwest Missouri
The Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program is designed to collaborate with local justice system partners, such as police departments, court systems, probation and parole, public defenders as well as prosecuting attorney's offices, to identify Veterans that enter the criminal justice system and are in need of or could benefit from treatment services rather than incarceration.
The Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program is designed to collaborate with local justice system partners, such as police departments, court systems, probation and parole, public defenders as well as prosecuting attorney's offices, to identify Veterans that enter the criminal justice system and are in need of or could benefit from treatment services rather than incarceration. The goal of the program is to provide timely access to VA services for eligible Veterans, preventing homelessness and avoiding unnecessary criminalization, while providing routes to mental health and other clinical treatments, such as substance abuse treatment. The VJO program is not designed or authorized to provide legal advice or legal representation in court.
The Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist (VJO), is not a lawyer, but rather serves as a liaison between the VA and the local criminal justice system. VJO’s provide basic case management for justice involved Veterans in jails, local courts, and in particular various treatment courts, such as Veterans Treatment Court. The VJO specialist collaborates with judges and specialty courts to connect Veterans with VA treatment services and homeless prevention programming.
Who is a Justice Involved Veteran?
- A Veteran in contact with local law enforcement who can be appropriately diverted from arrest into mental health or substance abuse treatment;
- A Veteran in local jail, either pretrial or serving a sentence; or
- A Veteran involved in adjudication or monitoring by a court
What is Veterans Treatment Court?
Veterans Treatment Courts (VTC) are specialty courts designed to meet the needs of Veterans, with felony charges, that have been identified by the criminal justice system with substance abuse problems and/or mental health issues. This long-term treatment court program will provide the Veteran the opportunity to lead a productive and law-abiding life through a comprehensive treatment and judicial supervision.
Basic Qualifications for Veterans Treatment Courts in Missouri Are:
- Felony charge
- Individual identified as a Veteran
- Veteran's service was in any of the following:
- Any of the five branches of the Unites States military
- The National Guard
- The Reserves
- Veteran has history of substance abuse or a mental health issue
- Veteran resides within counties in southwest Missouri that are approved by the State of Missouri Special Court Administrators as providing a Veterans Treatment Court and or can request their criminal case be transferred to an existing Veterans Treatment Court currently in operation within the following counties in southwest Missouri.
- Jasper, Greene, Lawrence, and Stone counties
- Submitted application, to the court, by the Veteran which will be reviewed by the treatment court team for acceptance.
Key Components of the Veterans Justice Outreach Program
- 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, jails, and law enforcement officials, with completed Release of Information forms signed by the Veteran, with communication essential to services (attendance, progress, treatment, testing, and discharge plan).
- Attend the scheduled Veterans Treatment Court hearings and provide updated court reports regarding the Veterans progress in treatment and or services relevant to their success in the court program.
- 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 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.
- Provide Veteran and VA specific trainings to community agencies and area law enforcement
What 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
- Decide criminal justice sanctions for Veteran Court participation
- Decide who gains admission to specialty treatment court
Wendy Clanton LCSW
Veteran Justice Outreach Specialist/Healthcare for Reentry Veterans Specialist
VA Fayetteville Arkansas health care
Phone: 479-443-4301 ext. 65209
Marcy Van De Berg MSW, LCSW
Veteran Justice Outreach Coordinator
VA Fayetteville Arkansas health care
Phone: 417-891-4800 ext. 64965