Kentucky Court of Justice
Jefferson County Veterans Treatment Court is first of its kind in Kentucky
Contact for Media Inquiries: Leigh Anne Hiatt, APR, Public Information Officer
Administrative Office of the Courts, 502-573-2350, cell 859-619-7916, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact for Administrative Inquiries: Connie Neal, Department of Statewide Services
Administrative Office of the Courts, 502-573-2350, email@example.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky., Nov. 20, 2012 – Veterans in Jefferson County now have access to a specialized court that focuses on the unique needs of those who have issues with substance abuse and mental health. The Jefferson County Veterans Treatment Court is the first court of its kind in Kentucky.
Officials from the Kentucky Judicial Branch, the Office of the Jefferson County Attorney and the Robley Rex Veterans Administration Medical Center today announced the opening of the JCVTC at a news conference in the Jefferson County Judicial Center.
The JCVTC is being funded by a three-year, $350,000 grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice. Funding will provide treatment and other support services to help veterans achieve stable mental health and recover from addiction. Now that funding is in place, the JCVTC will begin identifying veterans who are eligible to participate in the program.
With its close proximity to Fort Knox and its large urban center, Jefferson County has the largest veteran population in the commonwealth. The project anticipates providing services to 25 to 30 veterans a year.
“As military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan comes to an end, the veteran population of Kentucky will continue to grow,” Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. said. “We want to help those who may struggle as they transition back to civilian life. I’m proud of what can be accomplished to benefit our veterans when the courts, government and the community join forces.”
The Administrative Office of the Courts is collaborating on this project with the Office of the Jefferson County Attorney, the Robley Rex Veterans Administration Medical Center, Jefferson County Drug Court, Seven Counties Services and Morehead State University.
“Today’s announcement is welcome news to JCVTC developers, and more importantly, to the veterans of our community,” said Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell. “Veterans in our courts have a host of problems. The JCVTC is designed to approach these issues holistically, and to provide real solutions.”
The Office of the Jefferson County Attorney administered Jefferson County Drug Court from its inception in 1993 until the AOC began overseeing the program in 2007. With nearly 20 years of experience, Jefferson County Drug Court has earned a reputation for reducing recidivism and returning Drug Court participants to productive lives. The AOC administers all Drug Court programs statewide under the 10 Key Components model of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. The JCVTC will be implemented using the 10 Key Components of a Veterans Treatment Court.
The JCVTC will provide assessment, treatment, monitoring, community integration and other services with judicial oversight. The JCVTC team includes judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, court coordinators, treatment providers, community supervisors, evaluators, law enforcement liaisons, veterans’ justice outreach specialists and mentor coordinators.
The JCVTC team began planning the project in 2010 and was accepted to attend the National Drug Court Institute’s Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative in San Jose, Calif., in February 2012. Twelve team members completed the training and developed a program based on the strategies endorsed by the National Institute of Justice’s Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation:
Screening and Assessment. A thorough legal and clinical screening will occur promptly after referral. Participants will ideally enter the program within two to four weeks of referral.
Target Population. The project will target high-risk/high-need offenders as determined by the LS/CMI Risk and Needs Assessment.
Procedural and Distributive Justice. The JCVTC team will adhere to all evidence-based recommendations with regard to incentives and sanctions.
Judicial Interaction. The JCVTC judge will hold weekly sessions and follow National Association of Drug Court Professionals’ recommendations as to the length of time spent with each participant.
Monitoring. The JCVTC team will conduct the case management aspects of the program in conjunction with Drug Court staff. Case managers with the VAMC will monitor veterans with more severe mental health issues.
Treatment and Other Services. All proposed treatment providers are licensed and will use evidence-based curriculums. Depending on the veteran’s benefit level, he or she may receive the full array of treatment services provided by the VAMC. Drug Court will also provide intensive licensed outpatient services.
Relapse Prevention, Aftercare and Community Integration. A coordinated veterans’ mentor program will be provided to help clients establish a sober and stable community support network. Aftercare, the final phase, will provide clients with support activities and continued therapeutic and medication monitoring.