National Veterans Treatment Court Enhancement Initiative

Veterans treatment courts respond to the unique circumstances of veterans entering the justice system. The veterans treatment court first emerged in the mid-2000s. As of this writing, there are more than 600 in the country, with scores more being planned. The rapid proliferation of veterans treatment courts has created a heightened need for evidence-based tools to identify the criminogenic risks and clinical needs of court-involved veterans and to promote best practices such as multidisciplinary case planning and client monitoring. Research has consistently shown that clinical interventions are most effective when they are based on risk-need-responsivity principles, which hold that the type and intensity of treatment and supervision services should be proportional to an offender's risk of re-offending and should target their specific criminogenic needs. This project creates and pilots the first specialized risk-need assessment and case planning tools for veterans treatment courts.

The National Institute of Corrections and the Bureau of Justice Assistance originally partnered with the Center for Court Innovation to develop the first set of specialized screening, assessment, and case planning tools for Veterans Treatment Courts. NIC is now partnering with American University to further advance the project by converting all the tools and training to a virtual and automated platform. By incorporating the latest research on trauma, substance use disorders, and other issues affecting veterans, these tools are designed to help veterans treatment courts meet the special needs of justice-involved veterans.

The Veterans Treatment Court Enhancement Initiative produced three tools:

  1. Short screener: A short pre-adjudication screening tool will identify veterans as they enter the justice system and measure their risk of re-offending. This tool will help justice system officials identify suitable candidates for veterans treatment court and refer them for a full assessment.
  2. Comprehensive risk-need assessment: A comprehensive risk-need assessment tool will enable veterans treatment court staff to learn more about individuals’ criminogenic risks and needs. This information will help veterans treatment courts confirm participant eligibility and understand each participant’s risk-need profile for case planning purposes.
  3. Case planning protocol: A set of case planning guidelines will help veterans treatment courts develop individualized supervision and case plans for each participant based on their risk-need profiles.

Pilot Sites FY2020

  • Rochester, New York
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • San Francisco, California
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina

American University will be looking to add multiple sites in FY2021.

If interested please contact, Dr. Julie Baldwin at jbaldwin@american.edu