The Veterans Justice Outreach Initiative of NJRC works to provide critically-needed services to those veterans, regardless of discharge status, who are being released from state prison, county jail, or addiction treatment centers. Veterans Justice Outreach Initiative also works with court-involved veterans who have not been imprisoned, but who have been engaged with the criminal justice system. This program is designed and executed to assist those veterans to secure medical and behavioral treatment for health ailments, mental health problems, and addiction. NJRC seeks to decrease the participation of veterans with the court system and provide them with the necessary support mechanisms through affiliated veterans organizations, hospitals and healthcare providers, and advocacy groups to offer the treatment and tools necessary for grappling with challenges ranging from anxiety, depression, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Recognizing that veteran disability compensation is reduced if a veteran is convicted of a felony and imprisoned for more than sixty (60) days, veterans may be limited to a lower disability rate. Among imprisoned veterans, it is estimated that 87% have experienced a lifetime traumatic event and upwards of 39% have screened positive for PTSD (Saxon et al., 2001). In addition, exposure to combat and other traumatic situations may have occurred during military service; these court-involved military veterans have been considered a vulnerable population warranting coordinated interdisciplinary healthcare because of unique demanding healthcare needs. While significant healthcare delivery gaps presently exist for court-involved veterans within New Jersey, mindful of the unique challenges of the management of multiple conditions and psychosocial challenges, as well as the difficulty in designing an integrated medical framework, NJRC is focused on providing for those medical and behavioral healthcare interventions that help veterans manage multiple mental health, substance use disorder, and medical conditions.
Those court-involved veterans have extensive medical and behavioral (mental health and substance use disorder) treatment needs. According to the Health and Justice Journal, "Among veterans age 55 and older who were exiting prison, 50% had hypertension, 20% had diabetes, and 16% had hepatitis," (Williams et. al., 2010). "The mortality rate among veterans exiting prison is approximately similar to those of nonveterans exiting prison, namely 12 times higher from that of the general population, with overdose as the leading cause of death," (Wortzel, Blatchford, Connor, Adler, and Binswanger, 2012). In addition to the healthcare needs, court-involved veterans face a wide range of biopsychosocial challenges, for which NJRC is uniquely positioned to address. While 30% of veterans imprisoned have a history of homelessness, a significant percentage confront legal restrictions in employment, criminal background checks, as well as competing medical and behavioral health conditions.
Traumatic experiences and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder have historically been linked with criminal justice involvement, which may explain the link between military service and criminal behavior. Among veterans in prison, 58% of men and 38% of women have served in the combat zone. Exposure to more traumatic events during military service and PTSD were linked with a higher risk of violent offending among veterans. It should be noted that PTSD symptoms have been linked with interpersonal violence and other court involvement among veterans.
In addition, substance use disorders have been linked with a recidivism among court-involved veterans and post-deployment alcohol use has been associated with violent offending among veterans. Among U.S. veterans who served in the recent conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan, conflict-related PTSD was linked with a high rate of incarceration. The substantive research, commentary, and conclusions were taken from the research article entitled "A Scoping Review of Military Veterans Involved in the Criminal Justice System and their Health and Healthcare," written by Finnely, Owens, and Timko, published on April 8, 2019 in Health and Justice. NJRC is committed to providing the health treatment needs, housing referrals, workforce training and maintenance of employment, legal services, and identification for court-involved veterans.
In working with allied veteran organizations, the VHA, and service providers, NJRC is committed to programming that will be responsive to the priorities of court-involved veterans. To the extent that existing services across multiple fields fail to address veteran needs, NJRC is committed to ethically supply those peer-reviewed best practices to veterans through NJRC and private foundation sources.
US Veterans Job and Social Services Fair
There are career opportunities, veteran organizations and health services present to help better serve our veterans. 12:00 to 15:00 at 51 Park Pl. Newark, NJ.Posted by New Jersey Reentry Corporation on Friday, August 13, 2021
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