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Posted on: August 7, 2018

Learn how the 10th Circuit is assisting Veterans'

Veterans Justice Outreach: Reaching Out to Veterans In Need.

Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) is a VA-based social work service program that works in collaboration with local law enforcement, VA police, court, probation and parole to provide eligible Veterans the treatment they need via jail reentry, post-release, or as a diversion to enhance community reintegration.

The aim of the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) program is to avoid the unnecessary criminalization of mental illness and extended incarceration among Veterans by ensuring that eligible, justice-involved Veterans have timely access to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) services, as clinically indicated.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is strongly committed to the basic principle that when Veterans’ non-violent offenses are products of mental illness, substance abuse, alcoholism or other associated disorders, Veterans and their community are often better served by mental health treatment than imprisonment. Veterans can participate in treatment to satisfy court mandates for DUI treatment, domestic violence services, and anger management individual and group services to treat many mental health and substance abuse conditions.  

In order to address the needs of Veterans in the Peoria County area, Veterans Justice Outreach assists justice-involved Veterans in the Peoria County Veterans Problem Solving Court.  The Peoria County Veterans Problem Solving Court was established in 2012 and was recently certified by Illinois Supreme Court in 2017 for meeting all Standards of Problem Solving Courts.  Associate Judge Lisa Wilson currently presides in this court.  

The Peoria County Veterans Problem Solving Court provides a unique opportunity for Veterans to be involved in behavioral health treatment that is monitored by the court.  In some circumstances, upon successful completion of recommended treatment, probation and other court requirements, the criminal charge to which the Veteran pled guilty will be dismissed.  Depending on the past criminal record of the Veteran, there may be a conviction entered to the charge to which the participant pled guilty but the Veteran may not face jail and/or prison time.  By using a coordinated multi-disciplinary team approach, VJO services can assist with case management services of linkage to services for Veterans to address needs best served through mental health treatment, substance abuse services, domestic violence issues and readjustment difficulties.

Referrals for participation in the Peoria County Veterans Problem Solving Court can be made to court staff of the Peoria County States Attorney’s Office (309-672-6900); the Peoria Adult Probation Department (309-672-6020); Veterans Justice Outreach staff (309-706-9457), or the Peoria County Public Defender’s Office (309-495-4621).  


 

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