Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $349,439)
New Hanover County proposes a four-year project aimed at implementing a Veterans Treatment Court, Type A, post-adjudication program to meet the growing needs of local veterans whose criminal activity is related to unmet needs surrounding substance use and mental health problems. Funding in the amount $280,043 over a four-year period is requested to pay for a program coordinator position that will screen prospective participants for program appropriateness, act as a liaison between the court and partner agencies, provide intensive case management to program participants, prepare court dockets, track incentives and sanctions, and facilitate team meetings. Data collected since October 2020 suggests an average of seventeen veterans per month are booked into the New Hanover County Jail and there are currently eighty-nine military veterans on probation in New Hanover County, thirty-three of which had a probation violation within the past year. These numbers suggest as many as two hundred and forty-three veterans are arrested, booked or violate probation each year in New Hanover County (data obtained by the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and North Carolina Department of Public Safety Adult Probation and Parole). The target population for this project will be post adjudication non-violent justice involved veterans presenting with substance use, mental health or co-occurring disorder. With implementation proposed to start October 1, 2021, the program projects to serve fifteen veterans per year. With an average time of program completion estimated at twelve months, the program estimates to serve sixty veterans over the four years of the funding period. Participants will be linked to community treatment partners utilizing evidence based modalities to include Medication Assisted Treatment when appropriate for applicable substance use disorders, with the aim of decreasing recidivism and increasing treatment engagement. The structure of the program outlined in the narrative component of the grant application will outline how the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Ten Key Components and the Ten Key Components of Veterans Treatment Courts are interwoven into the proposed Veterans Treatment Court programming guidelines. Data collection will include demographic information such as race and gender, military branch, substance of choice, mental health status, level of treatment received, and program completion outcomes. New Hanover County has never received a Drug Court grant from OJP.