VA announced that it is ready to hire an additional 50 Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) specialists, now that President Trump has signed the Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act of 2018, a new law supporting veterans going through the corrections system.

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) was the primary sponsor of this legislation. Within the next calendar year, VA is required to hire these 50 VJO specialists and place them at eligible VA Medical Centers throughout the US.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie expressed optimism about the bill’s future. Here is what he had to say about the new VJO jobs:

“By signing this bill into law, President Trump is demonstrating VA’s commitment to supporting America’s veterans, particularly those who may be navigating difficult chapters in their lives. Since incarceration is often linked to homelessness, mental health issues and substance abuse, the VJO specialists will help facilitate these veterans’ access to numerous VA programs and resources.”

Keep in mind that this is a huge amount of fanfare for only 50 new VA jobs nationwide. Veterans all over the nation also question whether this legislation will accomplish its goals in the first place.

There are currently 314 VJO specialists nationwide, so hiring 50 more is about a 15 percent expansion of that department. VJO specialists serve veterans who are going through the early stages of the criminal justice process (being charged, going to trial, et cetera).

VJO specialists also conduct outreach in jails and courts, and engage with law enforcement by delivering VA-centric training sessions to them. Since 2009, over 184,000 veterans have worked with a VJO specialist.

Veterans Treatment Courts rely on VJO specialists as intermediaries between the court and the veterans. These are a veteran-centered version of more typical substance abuse courts. The goal is to treat afflicted veterans in a non-adversarial way, while still treating the problems they face.

Those who support this approach are confident that the tailored treatment and positive rehabilitative steps are what keep vets away from recidivism, i.e. committing the same offense twice.

There are still some detractors, both inside the veteran community and beyond it. This is the age-old question of being “soft on crime” creates enough of a deterrent, whether rehabilitation should really be devoid of other consequences, et cetera.

We live during a time when substance abuse in particular is much better understood as a type of mental illness, as opposed to a predilection for crime or a moral failure.

When a person is addicted to a substance, it alters the chemistry of the brain. It is no longer about “wanting” the substance, but about believing that it is required to continue living.

This knowledge does not mean it is suddenly okay to do hard drugs and endanger yourself or others. This is the biggest source of disconnect between those who are in favor of a rehabilitative approach vs. those who are more focused on harsh sentencing.

No one actually sees drug abuse, particularly opioid abuse, as good for our communities. It has become a huge national crisis over the past decade or so. The real question is, what approach will make our communities safer long-term?

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20 COMMENTS

  1. While the Veterans Treatment Court programs could be a good thing. It has proven to be more of a way to violate Veteran’s Civil Rights and prevent Veterans from receiving fair due process and protection of their rights.

    The Veteran treatment courts have already evolved into a system where the Veteran is overcharged for minor offenses. The Veteran does not go through the judicial process to prove guilt or innocence, but instead forced to agree to a stiff sentence with promised alternative sentence of treatment at a VA facility where if the Veterans refuses a medication he is then dropped from the alternative sentence and forced to serve the stiff sentence.

    It is a truly bullshit system of injustice.

    • Many Veterans suicides are connected to this bogus system of justice. One worth noting is the shooter at Yountville, California another death connected to the Veteran justice program is that of the Marine at Tomah WI.

      One who felt his life was over after he was dropped from the program and looking at a very long prison sentence after he quit taking his medication. Another had been court ordered to take the medication that killed him. He even called the F.B.I. to ask for help but was still forced to take the medication that killed him.

      In the Veterans treatment courts the judges, prosecutors and Veteran’s public defenders are all hired via grants from the Department of Veteran Affairs. So they are all essentially VA employees that are being given total control of Veterans lives. With a full set of tools including the ability to file warrants for arrests.

      These courts are nothing but a way of controlling research subjects for the purpose of medical research and nothing more.

      • True enough Seymore. I’m the eternal pessimist and will be till I croak my last.

        I’ve got many years of volunteer work in the addictions game and more. This so-called drug court business is nothing new, just now claiming to be vet specific programs with no change a coming. It’s still about raking in profits or resources for LEOs, the state, court ordered programs, mental health institutions to their buddies in drug rehab companies. With that ‘network’ so corrupt some judges and their pals in the business have been known to take long fancy paid vacations together. Everything is freaking corrupt. With older judges back in the day thirty or more years ago who had good programs and could keep corrupt cops at bay (at times) have been replaced by newer ones (judges, cliques) wanting their names in the history books for bringing in something new, pacifying the local corrupt cliques or politics, or having bragging rights for lies. While staying in full control over others lives. Pretending to be experts and having all the answers. Like physical therapy and Excedrine is all we need for chronic pain. Wilkie the scum bag said to drop narcs and just use “Tylenol” the idiot. As collective punishments and millions of dollars to states/towns continue on and deepen.

        Let’s get real. Something is wrong when corporate systems, LEOs and the Gov stick young non-violent offenders in prison or jails with hardened criminals, rapist, etc. Like maybe just for a joint? Damn near a life sentence or is in some states. Or constantly sticking the known mentally ill in jail for being mentally ill with predators and those with serious character flaws for human beings. Same with veterans with issues. Same with some juvenile camps and institutions. C’mon.

        How about the issue of every gang member and crook from the age of seven on up knows they get deals, lighter sentences, if they blame criminal activities on drug problems when there is no drug problem at all… just a well used cliche excuse like the devil made me do it. Helps with the statistics, grants, and tax dollars wasted. But we all know there is big bucks in the legal profession when dealing with all these issues and more. And being class and student projects or lab rats. Think the courts and attorneys are going to let a nickle pass them by?? Then to pass on more profits to the counseling companies, favored nut house, PC college student filled retraining camps/courses, and needs of the drug court’s hardware/cost of tests, excessive fines, loss of employment due to lost license, etc. Not in this Earth age.

        Like with chronic pain issues using a broad brush with every community, individual or town will not work. Some places are filled to the brim with gangs, murder, corruption, out of this world. Some places would take a miracle to change anything or the criminal culture, or places void of jobs or way outs of that kind of environment.

        Ron Paul had a good idea, legalize the works, let the chips fall, end the underground and government drug marketing games. Let nature and attitudes happen. Worked well enough over-seas in some countries but Americans are too programed to think never think outside of the box to wondering why our government feared native Americans spiritual practices and mind expanding organics… and cures. Oh no big brother and big sister has to totally control our lives, bodies, minds, thoughts, or be destroyed.

        More laws, more corruption, more LEOs getting by with swatting innocent people, setting them up, not using those warrants like TV claims they do. Suicides increasing by the day, media silent, LEOs silent, corruption and censoring of information the rules for the day. Vet reports issues gets home invaded, loss of hunting gear, good chance of court ordered head doping, emergency detentions not needed but used by scorned mates, etc. Never ending shit stories. OH and not to forget trash globalist all controlling agencies like the United Way and many others want total control over these issues and treatment joints too. While pretending to be do-gooders but evil past the facade.

    • When they cannot even get mental health care right they now want to start controlling veterans civil rights.

      ___
      ___

      “A 33-year-old vet went to the VA for help. Hours later he took his own life”

      By Zachary Cohen, CNN, Sat September 29, 2018

      “Washington (CNN)Burdened by suicidal thoughts, Justin Miller, a 33-year-old veteran from Minnesota, reached out to the Department of Veterans Affairs in February for help, telling responders on the VA crisis line that he had access to firearms.

      Miller was advised to visit his local VA emergency department, which he did immediately.

      According to an inspector general report, Miller was admitted to the Minneapolis mental health unit after he described in detail symptoms of severe emotional anguish to VA clinicians.

      After four days under observation, he was discharged.

      Miller exited the hospital upon being released from care but never left the facility’s grounds that day.

      Police found him dead in his car from a self-inflicted gunshot wound less than 24 hours later.”

      Full Article At: https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/29/politics/veterans-affairs-suicide-prevention-data/index.html

    • Seymore, have you seen this from the “Conservative Tribune”
      Dated: Sept 28
      @ 5:20 pm
      Titled-
      “Huckabee Calls Out Shameless ‘Sgt. Stolen Valor’ Senator in Midst of Kavanaugh Hearing”
      BY KARISTA BALDWIN
      SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 AT 5:20PM
      “Former Arkansa Gov. Mike Huckabee slammed Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Friday for claiming he was in Vietnam.”

      Former Govenor Huckabee went further in saying getting the truth out of Blumenthal is like asking Jeffrey Dahmer about his table manners! (Paraphrasing)!!!!

      Gov. Huckabee went even further on slamming that asshole Blumenthal! Only, I believe you get the idea!

      • Whoever gave my comment, thus giving Gov. Huckabee, a thumbs down for calling out a person (no matter what title he/she has) who “forges’ or “lies” about their Military Career is wrong in so many ways!
        Blumenthal was caught! He’s NEVER apologized to anyone for his LIE!
        That’s my opinion, take it or leave it!

    • I totally agree right now because of a crazy who keeps putting frivolous complaints, what happened had zero.to do with substance abuse or mental health issues … I am not.going to plead guilty to something I didn’t do… Not the first time she filed complaints… In which she lies the first three complaints.she decided she didn’t want to deal with, actually I had video of me at work when this supposedly happen, the police arrived less than a minute when I got home…
      But, the program is will not do anything for me… But, if I could have gotten a lawyer to help me for.free, pro bono that would have helped more…
      believe it or not some of us are really innocent of the charge s…

    • S.946 sponsored by Sen. Flake, R-Ariz. was merged with HR. 2147 sponsored by Rep. Coffman, R-CO, Ben Krause…Sen. Tester was not the primary sponsor. Please look it up and correct your article.

  2. VA Center Created To Help Veterans Exposed To Burn Pits
    CBS Minnesota News Channel 4, September 28, 2018

    “MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota mother courageously shared her journey with pancreatic cancer after exposure to toxic burn pits while serving in Iraq.

    Amie Muller died last year. Her story and others like it prompted lawmakers to demand the VA research the health effects associated with burn pits.

    President Trump signed the bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, last week. It is the first step toward researching the prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

    The 36-year-old Muller sounded the alarm about her condition.

    “Her story kind of spiraled into something that raised even more awareness,” husband Brian Muller said.

    Brian Muller worked closely with Klobuchar, who was determined to find out if exposure to toxic burn pits was linked to health concerns of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Her bipartisan bill has now been signed by the President and will create a Center of Excellence in the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

    Full Report At: https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2018/09/28/va-center-would-help-veterans-exposed-to-toxic-burn-pits/

  3. Another generations long time exposure needed…. “starting?”
    “http://medicalkidnap.com/2018/09/28/indiana-high-court-accuses-cps-of-significant-violations-of-due-process-in-termination-of-parental-rights/”

    What slips through today in the MSM about corrupt Indiana is just the tip of the iceberg, the tiny tip.

    Kids ever wanted to be emancipated because PC teachers claim it’s the thing to do to get away from home chores, parental control, etc. Naw, just make false statements, call in the state, get put up in group homes instead of being set free to run the streets. Oh happy day the teachers and state wins with their agendas. The streets come later for the kiddies.

    Every issue or law out there is corrupt or abused for various reasons. Just like this “Me-too” BS and the Kavanah circus. All some scorned hag or nutcase has to do is make a false accusation and hard telling what will happen. Swatted, shot, arrested until proven innocent, etc. Globe trotting country clubbers put their kids in psycho wards to be safe while they run the three mile high clubs. Then the kids come out a mess. Vets and people running nuts due to the psycho dope being pushed or court ordered. Then fail to report on the suicides but keep playing the same games.

    Then vets are supposed to trust anything this new VA or the musical chair game players want to play? I think we know all the horror stories. Except the ones hidden in states and towns like mine so the areas look great and will hopefully swamp towns with new businesses, for revenue, fill church pews, and college seats. Every thing is positive and perfect here! Oh and those high courts don’t give a shit about more serious veteran issues or of all the corruption happening. I know.

  4. This process is leaving out the Veterans who just had difficulty getting compensation for TBI/PTSD and never commit a crime. Alcoholics and just plain homeless without an addiction problem the way I was in DC when I couldn’t find a wheel chair accessible room that I could afford on my 50% compensation rating that should have been TDIU which would have enabled me to get in out of the weather.

    • Even then I’d have been better off assaulting a Police Officer who was just ticketing me for having an “abode” on the street. Cardboard box to cut the wind. I’d have gotten representation and that was back in 1996-2001.

  5. The VA disruptive committee has been stripping away all of or are stripping away all of the veterans civil rights, human right’s and constitutional rights.

    The VA is acting as part of our justice department and VA employees are not qualified to practice law in the United States.

    These are not lawyers they are non attorneys. VA employees are the accuser, prosecutors, judge’s and executioner.

    Veterans can not seek council or face their accuser or present evidence and do process of law are stripped away.

    I have contacted Yale law school, in hope’s of getting them to bring a Class action lawsuit against the VA for this abuse of power.

    I would like to ask as many veterans as possible to also contact them concerning the Disruptive committee and explain how the VA is using this committee, for no other reason than to punish those veterans.

    Veterans are not innocent until proven guilty at the VA. You are guilty period. I believe that veterans whom have been accused and punished by the Disruptive committee.

    Have committed suicide just because someone employees want to punish veterans they do not like personally.

    Will my fellow veterans help me, help these veterans. We fought for the right’s of all American’s due process of law.

    This committee and their actions are denying veterans all of their constitutional rights to due process of law.

    The VA is settings presidence the American people are in real danger of having all of their constitutional rights (also), stripped away.

    As the VA has set the presidence denying veterans their right’s to a fair trial and due process of law.

    Will you help your fellow veterans and stop the VA from harming one more veteran through the illegal disruptive committee.

  6. “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1obQYq5cC2s&feature=em-lbcastemail”

    Campus carry vs Antifa commies. Can’t trust the campus crowd and leaders. Can’t trust our fellow citizens or lefty vets. Can’t trust the gubbermint or VA. What a wicked web the communist and corrupt weave.

  7. I ucked up in 08 got charged with failure to comply got jail 1yr
    While in jail got divorced etc lost it all
    No help at all from va
    Got out and all va did was refer me to boarding hoise in clv
    That house primarly sex offenders. Had no choice. Only had clothes on back and 600 mo disability
    What a goat rope. Felony con
    Homeless numerous times no help from hud vash i should be dead
    I hate the va.

  8. Justice For Veterans is not so clearly defined. For one VA Directors, Doctors, Staff members have total control over the Veteran and if you question any of these people with facts or if you are pushed to the edge by these individuals in ways such as belittling,intimidating, humiliating, lied to. This happens to Veterans quit a lot. Then you are pretty much out of luck. Any VA staff member can make up a story, twist your words around, type things in your medical narrative that are untrue and the Veteran can not do a dam thing about it. The VA can call their henchman The Office Of The Inspector General and make your life even more depressing. I will give you a for instance, back in December 2017 I gashed my head pretty good which has resulted in a herniated disc in my neck at the present time. After gashing my head on Sunday 12/10/17 and after the bleeding stopped. I decided to call Tampa VA James Haley on Monday 12/11/17. I explained to the Directors Office to the Social Service Office ending up with speaking with the Travel Department. Over the course of 3 days Monday 12/11, Tuesday 12/12 and Wednesday 12/13 2017. I was lied to, bullied, intimidated,humiliated and denied Veterans Transportation Services to my outside Doctor in which the visits were already authorized. The VA own web sites states I am entitled to it. I was asked unnecessary immoral question which I have recorded like Mr. Apgar don’t you earn 3,000 month can’t you find a ride ? What did you do with your money ? I said my car was being repaired which it was, I was then asked where is the rest of your money I said it’s going to rent. I followed that up by saying I did not know I had to report into Tampa VA Hospital on what I do with my funds. Next I was asked can you take an UBER. I responded no I can’t funds are low. I was then asked are your parents around ? I responded nobody is around. This immoral insane questioning along with the bullying went on for 3 days finally sending me to an over whelming emotion words of anger over the phone. So Tampa VA called their henchman the OIG and my words of anger over the phone got twisted around which resulted in me being arrested. There was NO Justice For Veterans then and jumping ahead to the current time 9/28/18. I still have a Federal Choke Hold around my neck. My side of the story was never heard or investigated. I had no real legal help except a public defender that tricked me into signing my military medical history over. The Public Defenders forensic psychologist placed things in the narrative not important but were private. I have the anger under control but my visits to an outside psychologist since April 2018 have not counted. In closing I strongly disagree how Justice for Veterans is run and my final thought Disabled Veterans that have military medical documentation of being sodomized raped and hazed should not be labeled Mental. SO sad and very unfair but then again that is how The Federal Government continues to screw Veterans every day. When do I receive my full compensation back to the date of my Honorable Discharge for being wrong with a personality disorder making me and many other Veterans to miss out on VA Compensation and Benefits for years and save The Federal Government Billions, research it personality disorder given to Veteran. When do Veterans get to tell their true documented facts how they had their dungarees and underwear ripped off by half of their division weapons. As my arms and legs were pinned down and a chemical grease shoved into my back side with chemical grease PD 680 squirted into my back side and that was followed up by chemical elevator soap being poured into by back side Christine Blasey Ford has raised 700 Thousand through a go fund me account. When does a 100% Disabled Veteran Military Sexual Trauma Survivor get rewarded his 700 thousand in retro active pay and the Federal Choke Hold removed and have the VA stop telling Disabled Veterans like me I can’t have this or We Don’t have this or I don’t know or It’s not my problem. This is what has caused the anger over the years. The Veteran is not the antagonist. The VA is the antagonist that turns the Veteran into a negative person with their immoral thinking and reasoning. billapgar.com

  9. As a combat vet who was doped up on the Phoenix VA’s narcotic and psychotropic medications, and after I had a romantic relationship (what I thought was romantic at the time of being exploited) with a Phoenix VA psychatrist (a relationship I was unaware of being illegal at the time) in 2014, I was arrested for a DUI charge (dismissed because I was not intoxicated) after a police officer pulled her service pistol on me w/o cause and I drove away to feel safe. Ultimately the police officer took me to jail and out of concern for my well-being, she called to the Phoenix VA Hospital to have me do a self-committal in the PHVA psych ward. The PHVA refused to take me in and the police office was pissed that I was denied treatment by the PHVA and released me a few hours later. This happened on 9/21/2014, while the PHVA was still in the news for the waiting list scandal.

    After explaining my situation about being denied healthcare treatment to my PHVA healthcare team, the PHVA wanted to help me with my court case via the Veteran Justice Out (Over) Reach program. Little did I realize, the Phoenix VA Healthcare System was using the VJOR program to cover up criminal conduct and medical malpractice of the mental health “professionals” in the PHVA. The PHVA psychatrist who had the illegal relationship with me committed multiple felonies by dating me, having her colleagues change my psychiatric medications, violated my medical privacy by illegally accessing my medical records and then her colleagues/my healthcare team were not reporting her criminal conduct which are felonies.

    As I went to court, the judge gave me an option to go to a residential treatment program, a program the VA failed to get me into for over two and half months and upon completion of the program, the charges would be dropped or I suffer the consequences dealing with the charges. After the treatment program fell through, I reappeared in court without the VJOR social workers from the VA and was told the case was dismissed anyway but the sneaky fuckers at the PHVA had the D.A. refer the case to the Superior Court for felony chages I was never officially charged with by the arresting officer who actually moved out of state a month after the case was referred. I decided to get the minute entries for my case and tracked down the police report I was unaware of that was subject to the charges being referred. The police report took two months for me to obtain after being misguided by the police department for where I could obtain a copy of the report. The report stated the charge that was referred to the Superior Court which was for felony flight and that I was ultimately denied psychiatric care by the PHVA. I also obtained a sensitized patient access report for my VA medical records and noticed all the PHVA social workers who I told to get lost before I reappeared in court were in my medical records the day the case was dismissed and referred to the D.A.

    I brought the report to the attention of the PHVA Healthcare System and questioned a lot of events regarding my treatment to include the concerns of the PHVA psychatrist I had dated, and the PHVA began an internal investigation. Nine months after the arrest and on month after the investigation began, I recieved a summons to appear in court over the felony flight charges while I knew the wittness, the arresting police officer moved out of state. In the same time frame of receiving the summons, my VA primary care doctor tried taking me off Percocet that I had been on for years without a legitimate reason considering I had seen her a month prior and established a six month treatment plan. As the vice of the Phoenix VA tightened down on me, I began to comprehend how corrupt and criminal the VA and “justice” system actually are. I went through four months of denying the extortion tactics of the Maricopa County District Attorney’s plea deals and the case was ultimately dismissed. But at that point the investigation into my concerns uncovered a lot of criminal conduct, conduct the PHVA still won’t share with me without finding a BAR attorney who is licensed and accepted by the VA to “practice” law.

    I went to my congressional representative’s office, Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema for help just to be black balled and written off by her office staff which helped me comprehend the felonies committed by her social workers for not reporting the criminal conduct of the Phoenix VA medical staff on my behalf.

    The corporate government only cares about it’s liabilities in commerce, not about the lives of veterans. The Justice Out Reach Program is a sham and for my case, exemplifies the lengths the VA will go to cover up the VA’s liabilities. If a veteran is not recieving competent and compassionate healthcare and then arrested, the VA could be at fault, as the VA was complicit surrounding events of my case. DO NOT TRUST THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS AND ARTICLE 1 COURTS. Reseach law and how the law applies to you. The Justice Out Reach Program only ensnares veterans into the corrupt and controlling legal system. The VA should be held to the standards of being a corrupt, racketeering influenced criminal organizations under the 1970 RICO Act but the legal system is doubled standard when prosecuting government officials.

  10. I think that is a step in the right direction, but more is needed. I do plan on helping a Veteran’s Court when I move to Florida. I can provide assistance when needed and be able to translate what the impacts serving in Combat Zones and how they make one feel. I think I will be very helpful after serving for 30 years active and reserve and 2 combat tours – one in Desert Storm and on in Afghanistan. Pray for all those that are downtrodden…

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