Veterans Treatment Courts
Tribal veterans participating in wellness court programs hold distinct cultural and personal identities that should be individually addressed by Tribal Wellness Court team members. This 90-minute workshop will explore the therapeutic value of tradition and humor in a Tribal Veterans Court context. Presenters will discuss the tribal warrior tradition, including the role traditional activities and culture play in treatment. Presenters will also go over a discussion of the therapeutic value of humor, unique to tribal veterans in treatment settings.
This presentation was led by Sean Bear (Meskwaki Tribal Nation), Co-Director, National American Indian and Alaska Native Addiction Technology Transfer Center, Ray Daw (Diné), Consultant, Tribal Law and Policy Institute and David Natseway (Pueblo of Laguna), Consultant, Tribal Law and Policy Institute
The first step necessary for any veterans treatment court (VTC) is identifying their justice-involved veteran population. This is accomplished through a variety of means at multiple states throughout the criminal justice system. Justice For Vets Key Component #3 of the Ten Key Components of Veterans Treatment Courts is that “Eligible Participants are identified early and promptly placed in the veterans treatment court program.” Additionally, tracking this data, along with other criminal justice information, becomes a valuable tool in evaluating the VTC and identifying any opportunities for change. Once eligible veterans have been identified and are participants in the court, it requires cultural competence from all team members to engage with them. Veterans have both individual and shared cultural experiences that result in both barriers and strengths to treatment and relationship building. Recognizing these and communicating in a way that aids in addressing the barriers or leveraging the strengths will allow team members to begin to better serve the veteran population.
This presentation was led by Mark Panasiewicz, Program Director, Justice for Vets, National Association of Drug Court Professionals
A Native American Docket: Eighth Judicial District of Montana
This session will provide a summary of the model developed by the Eighth District, Native American Docket staff, which has provided more culturally relevant services, as well as improved collaboration with tribal partners to serve their participants for better and more long-lasting outcomes. In light of a significant portion of the docket including American Indians and Alaska Native participants, the Eighth Judicial District of Montana established a Native American docket, devoted solely to the Native population.
This presentation was led by Hon. Gregory Pinski, District Judge, Montana Eighth Judicial District, Kathy Hankes, Native American Cultural Coordinator, Montana Eighth Judicial District and Wesley Old Coyote, Chief Executive Officer, Indian Family Health Clinic
Description: This session will cover what the Healing to Wellness Court team should consider at the time of assessment, what the latest research says about treating this population and modalities of therapy that are proven effective. Many individuals who apply to Healing to Wellness Courts, not only have an addiction, but also mental health concerns. It can be challenging for Healing to Wellness Court staff to determine if the program is a viable option for these individual with co-occurring disorders.
This presentation was led by Jill Campoli, Clinical Supervisor, Pueblo of Pojoaque Tribal Court, Kristina Pacheco, Tribal Wellness Specialist, Tribal Law and Policy Institute and Lori Vallejos, Counselor III, Pueblo of Laguna Behavioral Health Services
This presentation will provide an overview of the National American Indian and Alaska Native Addiction Technology Transfer Center’s curriculum for serving Native veterans. Topics will include the history and context of warriors and veterans in Native societies; unique considerations for the role of trauma as distinct from non-veterans; and resources that both tribal and non-tribal communities can leverage to provide culturally competent care. This session will include a Q&A discussion section.
This presentation was led by Sean Bear, Co-Director, National American Indian and Alaska Native Addiction Technology Transfer Center and Ray Daw, Consultant/Health Administrator
Mitigating Trauma in Courthouses: Understanding the Science of the Brain and Trauma Responses; Historical Trauma; and Substance Use Disorders
The primary goal of this session is to improve the way court stakeholders and justice partners interact with survivors of trauma and people struggling with substance misuse. This session will (1) describe how acute and chronic trauma—including military trauma, domestic violence, child abuse, substance use disorders, and historical trauma-- may change the structure of the brain and protein expression; (2) discuss why a trauma response may be triggered and what it may look like (fight, flight, freeze, surrender); (3) explain what it means to be a trauma-responsive and trauma-informed court; and (4) provide practical ideas for incorporating strategies to help court systems be more trauma informed and trauma responsive. Judge McGinnis will delve into the neuroscience of trauma, including historical trauma, and walk the audience through the areas of the brain that play important roles in trauma responses. She will discuss structural changes commonly found in the brains of trauma survivors, including people struggling with substance use disorders, that may explain some frustrating behaviors. The presentation combines resources and research to give attendees practical tools and resources in improving court interactions and environment for survivors of trauma.
This presentation was led by Hon. Kim McGinnis, Chief Judge, Pueblo of Pojoaque Tribal Court
This session will provide a brief overview of veterans treatment courts. It reviews the impact that military culture as well as multiple clinical and criminogenic needs, have on justice involved veterans. Strategies and best practices when working with this challenging population are discussed. Attendees will be able to identify what a veterans treatment court is; learn why we have them; identify elements of veteran culture; identify the needs of veterans in the veterans treatment court; and will learn about resources available for developing a veteran treatment court.
This presentation was led by Mark Panasiewicz, Program Director, National Association of Drug Court Professionals
National Institute of Corrections: Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance for Vets Who Have Lost Their Way
This program on justice-involved veterans, highlights the lifesaving role being played by veterans treatment courts (VTCs) across the country. 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.
This program includes six videos and a participant guide.
Intimate Partner Violence, Military Personnel, Veterans, and Their Families
Glenna Tinney and April A.Gerlock
This article begins with a discussion of bringing a contextual analysis to the understanding of intimate partner violence (IPV) and how IPV may or may not overlap with potential co-occurring combat-related conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, substance use disorder, and depression. Elements of risk and danger, especially in relationship to IPV, these co-occurring conditions, and suicide are also addressed. Implications for family court personnel start with effective methods for screening and assessment within the framework of the larger contextual analysis. The article provides tips for family court personnel by addressing the larger context, applying effective screening/assessment strategies, and utilizing resources available within the military, Veterans’ Health Administration, and community settings.
Sex Crimes Litigation as Hazardous Duty: Practical Tools for Trauma-Exposed Prosecutors, Defense Counsel, and Paralegals
Major Evan R. Seamone
Military prosecutors and defense attorneys must both interact with traumatic case material stemming from victims, offenders, or evidence tied to a sexual offense. The context of the attorney’s specific duties makes them susceptible to different types of indirect or “Secondary Traumatic Stress” [STS] stemming from the litigation. At base, STS generically describes the manner in which a person can be traumatized simply from hearing or being exposed to someone else’s trauma or implementations that caused it. This article explores STS among military attorneys on the front lines—often literally—and recommends interventions where they are most needed.
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