Saturday, May 24, 2008

Buffalo Veteran's Court, Only One In U.S.

Note: Some Veterans have always had problems in this country: homelessness, mental illness, and coping with stresses of military life generally. Now, veterans have their own court in Buffalo.

It makes sense. The spectrum of specialized courts includes drug courts, bankruptcy courts, mental health courts, family courts, gun courts, and truancy courts, to name a few. All have similar goals: to solve a cluster of problems.

The problem-clusters faced by veterans are manifold: dissolution, custody/parenting, benefits, substance abuse, mental health, even traffic issues caused by PTSD or the simple lack of civilian driving skills.

Pass this on to your`area Judges, officials.. this needs to spread across the US

also see this article:

“Make no mistake on this,” Pirowski says. “It would be easier for these guys to go to jail and do their time. It’s not a soft on crime thing at all. They’re under strict community supervision and they’re held to a high standard.”


Buffalo Veteran's Court, Only One In U.S.

Posted by: Josh Boose, Reporter
Created: 5/22/2008 8:34:14 PM, Updated: 5/23/2008 11:51:53 AM

There's a new program in Buffalo aimed at helping local veterans.

It's called Veteran's Court. It's a program designed by the Buffalo City Court to keep non-violent offenders, who are veterans, out of jail.

2 On Your Side's Josh Boose asked Judge Robert Russell, "Did you see veterans locally here, falling through the cracks in a sense?"

"We seemed to notice, here locally, we may have been working with veterans in a drug treatment court, we worked with a number of veterans in a mental health treatment track; however, when one veteran was working with one veteran, peer to peer, it appeared to increase our probability of success with that population," said Russell.

After a year of planning, Veteran's Court kicked-off in January.

Here's what happens: If a veteran is arrested for a non-violent offense, they can ask to enter Veteran's Court where they can get proper treatment, mentors who can help them and assistance with any military benefits from the Veteran's Hospital.

"It's a group that many may not have the same degree or understanding or appreciation for," said Russell.

There are some strict rules, if you're in the program you must remain sober, lead a law abiding life and find a stable job or schooling.

Judge Russell says there are no additional costs. The court expenses already exist and there are some volunteers.

"So there's no out of pocket expenses for the city or something like that," Boose asked Russell.

"No," the judge replied.

So far, Buffalo is the only city in the country to focus in on the needs of veterans like this.

Russell and Buffalo City Court Projects Director Hank Pirowski say it's something other cities are taking note of.

"Where do you see this a year from now," Boose asked Pirowski.

"One hundred vets without a problem in the next twelve to eighteen months and I hope to see 15, 20, 25 other veteran's courts open across the country," he replied.

Right now about 35 veterans are in the program. They are right in the middle of it now. Those who complete the program will graduate at the beginning of next year.

Veterans who need some help but are not violating the law in anyway can go through the program too. For more information about Veteran’s Court, call 716-845-2697.

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1 comment:

boopathi raj said...

A lot of veterans, when they come home, find the transition difficult and we all turn to different things to get through those times," said Campbell, who served in Iraq in 2004-2005. If we're not lucky enough to have a strong family social network to hold us together in those difficult times, people turn to drugs, turn to alcohol.

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