The Veterans Justice Outreach Program help incarcerated veterans to get
treatment for mental health issues, including combat-derived PTSD. This
program prevents abusive treatment in the criminal justice system when
the condition causing the incarceration is a mental health issue.
All aware Americans should inform veterans of the availability of this
service, just in case some overaggressive government employee triggers a
response that leads to jailing or prosecution of the veteran.
I inquired about this program and received the following answer. Please
distribute to all mailing lists and blogs.
In April 2009 a mandate was issued for all VA Medical Centers to have a
Veterans Justice Outreach Program (VJO). The purpose of the Veteran
Justice Outreach Initiative (VJO) initiative is to avoid the unnecessary
criminalization of mental illness and minimize extended incarceration
among Veterans by ensuring that eligible justice-involved Veterans have
timely access to VHA mental health and substance abuse services when
clinically indicated and other VA services and benefits as appropriate.
The Bay Pines VAHCS has two VJO specialist positions; one located at the
Bay Pines VA Medical Center and the other located at the Lee County
Healthcare Center. VJO specialist play a key role in the development
and facilitation of Veterans Courts. The Bay Pines VAHCS has three
distinct Veterans Courts and/or dockets in our nine county catchment
area and have developed coordinated protocols for engaging veterans in
several other judicial circuits that don't have Veterans courts. All of
these efforts have resulted in the coordinated justice outreach to
approximately 120 veterans (does not represent the total number of
justice involved veterans in the catchment area). The Bay Pines HCS
VJO Specialists routinely participate in the planning and training of
area law enforcement officers on mental health and veterans issues. VA
VJO outreach specialist regularly visit local jails to engage
incarcerated Veterans and connect them to VA services.
Please contact me by email or phone if you have additional questions.
Patrick Diggs, LCSW, BCD
Veterans Justice Outreach Coordinator
Bay Pines VAHCS
P. O. Box 5005
Bay Pines, FL 33744
(o) 727-398-6661 ext. 10306
Due to the nature of work in the Veterans Justice Outreach Program,
there may be a delay in response time as we are often in a setting where
we don't have phone or email access. Thank you in advance for your