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First Published VTC Study Shows Incredible Success!

The Community Mental Health Journal has released the first published study on Veterans Treatment Court and the results are outstanding. Researchers from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services tracked 86 veterans involved with Veterans Treatment Court, all of whom were diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They found that 89.5% remained arrest-free during their time in the program and concluded that the veterans participating in Veterans Treatment Court experienced significant improvement with depression, PTSD and substance abuse as well as with critical social issues including housing, emotional well being, relationships, and overall functioning.

The study further concluded that mentoring from volunteer veterans is particularly effective. Veterans who received mentoring not only experienced better clinical outcomes, they reported feeling more socially connected.  

“Veterans reported better treatment outcomes and quality of life over time when involved in the Vet Court,” the study states. “When provided programs and services that fostered recovery, veterans improved markedly on all study measures. Veterans particularly improved when provided a combination of trauma-specific treatment, peer mentor services, and medication. The importance of trauma-specific therapy and positive peer role models may be important for veterans with combat exposure who have re-integrated into a society unfamiliar with the struggles associated with combat experience.”

Access the full study here.

O.C.'s Combat Veterans Court helps ex-warriors fix their lives

By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2012 :: Read full article »

Some military veterans have collided with the criminal justice system.  There are now more than 90 courts across the U.S., nine in California, tailored to veterans who are willing to work to get back on track. Buffalo, N.Y.'s was the first, launched in January 2008 and modeled on the traditional drug court; Orange County's and Santa Clara County's weren't far behind.  Although the process is neither easy nor quick - it takes some veterans years to complete Judge Lindley's Orange County program - the three courts have become models of success. 

Yet LIndley's stands apart nationally.  It is designed exclusively for combat veterans.  As a longtime Superior Court judge, she has seen what the residue of combat stress can do.   "We are dealing with people whose mental and physical health is very compromised," she said. "We owe them, each one of them, the highest level of care."

A court to get veterans back on track

By Mary Ann Milbourn, The Orange County Register, September 11, 2011 :: Read full article »

When you walk into the room with its six rows of walnut-stained, pew-like benches and raised dais, it feels like you've entered a chapel. And for veterans like Jesse Paredes who have gotten into trouble with the law, it has been a place of redemption.

Welcome to Combat Veterans Court, a 3-year-old collaboration between the Veterans Administration and the Orange County Superior Court to help veterans facing criminal charges avoid prison, get training or jobs and straighten out their lives.

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Drug courts provide tough get-out-of-jail cards for offenders

By Cheryl Meyer, UOPX Writer Network, February 14, 2011 :: Read full article »

Victoria Montgomery was 14 when she took her first drink. By 16, already graduated from high school with a bright future, she smoked marijuana. Then, as the years blurred by, she got hooked on hard drugs - cocaine, methamphetamine, opiates.

Things changed for Montgomery in the late 1990s. After willingly spending six months in a Christian-based treatment center, Montgomery chose to face her last outstanding warrant and attend drug court - a heavily monitored 18-month program for drug offenders and an alternative to jail.  The program changed her life.

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Veteran's courts seek to rehabilitate offenders outside of jail

By Michael Martinez and Casey Wian, CNN, October 28, 2010 :: Read full article and view video »

Veteran by veteran, Orange County, California, Superior Court Judge Wendy Lindley is dispensing justice with tough talk and a little cheerleading to the former servicemen who've returned from war in Iraq or Afghanistan.  The vets are now convicted civilians in her court.

"Mr. Baker," Lindley asks one veteran, "how long have you been sober? About four or five years... Welcome back to the human race. It's great to have you around here."  The gallery offers applause.