VA Maryland Health Care System
Veterans Treatment Docket Launched in Baltimore
Veterans in Baltimore who are involved in the justice system no longer stand alone in the court room. Now, VA Maryland Health Care System's Veterans Justice Outreach program staff members stand with them in a newly launched Veterans Treatment Docket. The brainchild of Judge Halee Weinstein, herself an Army Veteran, the Veterans Treatment Docket was launched on Tues., Oct. 13 and is the first-of-its-kind in the District Court of Maryland. The docket emphasizes rehabilitation over incarceration. Veterans with minor and misdemeanor charges will have the opportunity to be linked to a comprehensive, court supervised voluntary treatment-based program that connects them to VA benefits and services.
"We are thrilled to be working with Judge Halee Weinstein on this Veterans Docket that will serve military Veterans involved in the justice system. I want to thank Judge Weinstein for her leadership," said Dr. Adam M. Robinson, Jr, director of the VA Maryland Health Care System. "I'm proud of our Veterans Justice Outreach program staff members who conduct weekly outreach to incarcerated Veterans throughout the system."
The Veterans Treatment Docket allows the courts to draw on the skills of a strong interdisciplinary team that can focus on the Veterans' unique needs. Other agencies partnering in the docket will enable the courts to link Veterans with assistance that also includes but is not limited to resume building and job training. "This specialized docket allows us to coordinate resources and the collaboration among our justice partners and the VA Maryland Health Care System is instrumental to the success of our program," says Judge Weinstein.
Veterans who do not qualify for VA benefits will receive a treatment assessment and services through non-VA providers. For Veterans who qualify, the VA Maryland Health Care System provides case management and collaborates with an array of community partners and law enforcement personnel to help Veterans stay on track.
"In other cities with Veteran Dockets, there has been a 98 percent reduction in recidivism. Many Veterans go on to live productive lives without becoming repeat offenders," Robinson says. "This initiative ensures that eligible Veterans receive timely access to VA mental health, substance use treatment, and other VA services and benefits as appropriate," he adds.
Weinstein adds, "I look forward to ensuring that Veterans are connected to the benefits and treatments they earned through their military service. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate to Veterans that we are grateful for their service and are not going to leave them behind when adjusting to civilian life is a challenge."