Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): NY

Grantee Agency: See below

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2007/$86,147

About the Program:

Established in January 2008, the Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court promotes public safety by expanding the availability of case management services, including drug and mental health treatment services, to veteran defendants. The Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court seeks to expedite early intervention and avoid or minimize the amount of time offenders/veterans spend incarcerated by initiating coordination of care as soon as possible.

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

Thus far, case management services have been provided for 100 high-need male and female veterans charged with a non-violent misdemeanor or felony offense. The program will take 24 months to complete.

Coping with service-related psychiatric conditions has proved to be a difficult feat for returning combat veterans. As the number of veterans battling post-traumatic stress, alcohol and drug addictions, and traumatic brain injuries continues to grow while the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, many end up in the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, the first time a veteran is forced to confront his or her problem(s) is often when he or she is caught up in the criminal justice system (CJS). Equally troubling, the CJS is often first to recognize the veteran's need for assessment and treatment. Many veterans who enter the CJS might not have engaged in such behavior if they had received adequate and appropriate drug and mental health treatment.

The Buffalo Veteran's Treatment Court has successfully diverted 100 veterans away from the prison system and instead has provided timely access to health, education, and employment resources and services which have been critical to the "re-adjustment challenge" these combat veterans have faced upon returning home.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
Honorable Robert Russell
Buffalo City Court Judge
Phone: 716–845–2623

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