Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $622,500)
Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin (SJC-Court), is applying for the 2021 Discretionary Grant Program for its Veterans Court (Category 2). SJC-Court is requesting $498,000 for the four-year period to enhance Veterans Court (VC). The project will serve justice-involved Veterans in San Joaquin County (SJ-Co), home to over 29,000 Veterans. Veterans Court (VC) anticipates serving 280 Veterans over the four-year period.
Collaborative Courts (CC) at the SJC-Court operate six problem-solving courts (Drug, DUI, Parole-Reentry, Dependency, AB109 Compliance, and Veterans). CC are evidence-based models for diverting justice-involved individuals with substance use disorders to treatment instead of incarceration. Although VC began in February 2015, it was operated independently of CC. In December 2020, SJC-Court shifted VC under the CC umbrella with the intention of expanding the program and aligning with Best Practice Standards (BPS).
Veterans qualify for VC under either P.C. §1001.80 (Military Diversion) or P.C. §1170.9 (Veterans Treatment Court). Military Diversion is a pre-plea diversion program, whereas traditional Veterans Treatment Court is a post-conviction program. Both programs last a minimum of one year. The time to complete Military Diversion is capped by statute at two years; however, there is no limit to complete Veterans Treatment Court. BPS I, II; Narrative 3-4, 7-9.
VC is applying as a Type B program allowing violent offenders if the crime is connected to mental health effects of service. Violent offenders are admitted in VC because research shows violence is one way trauma manifests specific to Veterans. These Veterans are required to participate in cognitive behavioral interventions focused on anger management. BPS I; Narrative 4, 11.
A VC-dedicated judge oversees the program in collaboration with Veterans Justice Outreach, the SJC Veterans Services Office, and several community partners, including SJC Behavioral Health Services (BHS). BHS provides funds for MAT and substance abuse counseling and treatment for those who do not qualify for VA benefits. BPS V, VI, VIII; Narrative 17-19.
VC seeks grant funds to hire a case manager and to provide resources for monitoring substance use and providing sober living environments for Veterans with financial need. BPS IV-IX; Narrative 13-16.
SJC-Court receives funding from two BJA grants. In 2019, CC was awarded a three-year grant for $495,000 to enhance its Adult Drug Court (2019-DC-BX-0057). In 2020, CC was awarded a three-year grant for $495,000 to enhance DUI Court. Both of these programs are separate from Veterans Court.