BJA's Justice Today
March 2011
In the Spotlight

The President's Principal Military Advisor Praises Veterans Treatment Courts

Recently, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sent a letter to Attorney General Holder expressing his gratitude for the Department's support of Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs). Admiral Mullen said that VTCs are making a real difference by giving veterans a second chance and improving the quality of their lives. Since the first VTC opened in 2008, these courts have been expanding rapidly, and currently there are over 60 operational VTCs in 24 states.

VTCs serve veterans struggling with addiction, serious mental illness, and/or co-occurring disorders, and they promote sobriety, recovery, and stability through a coordinated response that involves local and federal partners who can address the behavioral health treatment, housing and employment, and collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care networks, the Veterans' Benefits Administration, volunteer veteran mentors, and veterans and veterans' family support organizations.

Expanding the problem-solving court model to address the specific needs of veterans is having initial success and we will keep tracking progress. In 2010, BJA launched the Veterans Treatment Court Training Program to provide training for court practitioners—including judges and service providers—to respond to veteran-specific treatment needs. For more information on this and other training programs, visit

News You Can Use

Register for the Annual Drug Court Conference
The National Association of Drug Court Professionals will host the 17th Annual Drug Court Training Conference on July 17–20, 2011 in Washington, DC. A special training track for VTC practitioners has been added.

Online Training Available for Drug Courts
BJA-funded drug court online training is available! This self-paced course is designed to build a sequential understanding of the essential elements of Adult Drug Courts. Whether you are planning a new drug court or are a new drug court team member, you will learn the core knowledge, skills, and information necessary to properly plan and implement a drug court.

Sign Up for Social Media Webinars
Is your law enforcement agency considering tapping into social networking? Please join us for the BJA-funded International Association of Chiefs of Police's Center for Social Media Spring Webinar Series. These web-based trainings are tailored specifically for law enforcement personnel interested in learning more about social media. For more information, visit

Grants and Funding

The following competitive solicitations are open:

Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program
Enacted in 1976, the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program provides death, disability, and education benefits to those eligible for the program. For details regarding these federal benefits for law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responders killed or catastrophically disabled in the line of duty, call the PSOB Office toll-free at 888–744–6513 or 202–307–0635, or visit the PSOB web site.

Did You Know?

Currently, there are over 23 million veterans in the United States. Of those, 1.7 million are veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. One in five veterans reported symptoms of a mental disorder, and one in four veterans aged 18–25 met criteria for having a substance abuse disorder in 2006. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that as many as one third of the adult homeless population has served in the military and that at any given time there are as many as 130,000 homeless veterans. Up to 75 percent of the veteran homeless population suffers from a substance abuse disorder. In 2007, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that over 1.1 million veterans were arrested. Learn more about what's being done to help our vets.

Featured Program

Gun violence. Neighborhood drug markets. Persistent street and commercial robberies. These problems are not unique to one jurisdiction; they and other chronic crime problems regularly confront law enforcement agencies across the United States. BJA's Smart Policing Initiative (SPI) supports agencies in identifying effective and economical tactics and strategies that reduce crime. This is critically important as agencies struggle with reduced budgets and staffing limitations. Remedying hot spots with large concentrations of patrol officers is no longer feasible for many departments. Solutions must be proven effective, precise, driven by data analysis, and surgically applied. That confidence is gained by incorporating research partners throughout the SPI process. Under SPI, BJA is currently funding 16 law enforcement agencies to tackle serious crime problems by either testing new solutions or modifying previously-identified interventions to their particular set of circumstances, and using their research partner, they are carefully measuring the results of their efforts which will be made available to law enforcement agencies across the country. For more information, visit

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