Daily Archives: Monday, December 1, 2014

Exploring Justice for Servicemembers: A Look at the Massachusetts Veterans’ Treatment Courts

At last Monday's brown bag, attendees learned about the Veterans' Treatment Court thanks to the help of an expert panel.

At last Monday’s brown bag, attendees learned about the Veterans’ Treatment Court thanks to the help of an expert panel.

Last Monday, we heard from an impressive panel of speakers about the Veterans’ Treatment Courts of Massachusetts.  The Honorable Mary Hogan Sullivan, Attorney Vanessa Velez from the Committee for Public Counsel Services, and Access to Justice Fellow Attorney Allan E. Taylor discussed how the treatment courts provide an alternative to incarceration. The Veterans’ Treatment Court coordinates support for veterans in the criminal justice system by connecting them with services and programs that address underlying service-related issues.

If you’re not familiar with the Veterans’ Treatment Courts, here’s a little background: Judge Hogan Sullivan brought the first Veterans’ Treatment Court to Massachusetts in Dedham, a model which will be replicated in 4 other counties in the state, and is already open at BMC.  Veterans’ Treatment Court judges understand military culture, and how PTS, traumatic brain injuries, substance addiction, or military sexual trauma may fuel criminal behavior among veterans.  The judges are assisted by an interdisciplinary team of providers, and mentors, including Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists, representatives from the State Department of Veterans Affairs, and former veterans who volunteer as mentors.  More than 130 courts nationwide now have a Veterans’ Treatment session.  To read more about the Veterans’ Treatment Courts, click here.

Our dedicated readers know about the BBA’s commitment to addressing the legal needs of our servicemembers, veterans, and their families through the Veterans and Military Helpline and Yellow Ribbon Events. One of the priorities of the BBA’s Active Duty, Family Members & Veterans Committee is to illuminate issues facing this population. Case in point– we have a program on military sexual trauma coming up on January 27th (click here for more information).  We’ll keep you posted when similar programs are added to the BBA’s calendar.

To see other recent Beyond the Billable posts about our Veterans Initiative, click here.