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Though this sounds like a good idea, I can see the potential for abuse:

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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 09:43 AM
Original message
Though this sounds like a good idea, I can see the potential for abuse:

Legislation would allow veterans to get therapy instead of jail

TALLAHASSEE
A year ago, Palm Beach County Judge Ted Booras helped open the county's first veterans court, a docket for veterans affected by mental-health and substance-abuse issues related to their military service.

It was supposed to handle a few people, every other week. Now, it's every Thursday. So far, 201 veterans have gone before Booras, who is trying to combine sentencing with treatment programs.

You may go on probation, but you get all these services," Booras said. "That's going to make a big difference in a lot of people's lives." Each vet returns to court monthly to give Booras, himself a former Marine, a full report.

Some veterans succeed, Booras said, completing treatment programs and getting jobs. Others have had probation violations or drug relapses. Most, he said, "really try."

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/fl-veterans-courts-pressed-20111112,0,4030059.story

Some violations you will be able to tell that it's an issue related to PTSD, but once unethical people start pushing the envelope, I can see it abused for premeditated civil torts. I already see in my community how ex Colonels and officers have taken over positions of leadership and ignored the letter of the law to accomplish whatever they wanted. So even without this rule, they're getting away with things they shouldn't because of their military background--because there is a culture of corruption that exists in some small towns.

I just hope the law is directed at the real soldiers who served and not someone who never saw action.
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LAGC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 09:48 AM
Response to Original message
1. I don't know, we already have "drug courts" and "mental health courts" in many places...
Really, I think any diversionary program that tries to help and rehabilitate folks is better than just locking everyone up.

I'm sure, just like those other courts, violent crimes wouldn't be eligible for these special courts.
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. In the case of Veterans with PTSD who saw active duty, I might allow violent crimes to qualify.
For individuals who were subjected to violent acts and who were expected to do violent things, the very definition of war, I think we might want to think differently about excluding violent crimes convictions from the treatment program.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. You do realize that the level of paranoia is about to go up in the U.S.?
Makes me wonder if these soldiers were also subjected to mind altering drugs while they were overseas. At this point, I'm inclined to open my door to no one, since there's a large group of people out there that now can get a pass for killing someone.

Imagine the potential for abuse in this country where we still don't have a handle on our corruption issues.
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
4. Huh?
"real soldiers who served and not someone who never saw action"


thats real...
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. If the whole point of this is due to the PTSD, then I assume
that it should only apply to soldiers who saw action. People who were out in the field and who were subjected to those improvised explosives.

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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
5. How about treatment AND consequences? And not just for vets.
First, if the vet's condition is serious enough to impair volitional control, there is the option of a Not Guilty by Reason o Mental Disease or Defect plea.

And if our goal is harm reduction, then psychoevaluation and, where appropriate, psychotherapy for all convicted criminals makes the most sense. Most criminals have pretty messed-up histories, with all sorts of child abuse and neglect, dysfunctional parents, etc. Effective therapy could easily reduce recidivism by 50%, and the cost of the therapy would be a lot less than the cost of a year in jail or prison (not to mention the cost to future victims that could be averted). But nobody's willing to pay for it.


When the state was at one point making a certain amount of vocational training available to prison inmates, a certain legislator went off like a volcano. "Nobody ever paid for MY education. Why should we spend good money on educating criminals?"

My response, which I never got to make to him in person, was "Well, you just didn't have enough initiative. Nobody stopped you from committing a couple of burglaries, getting sentenced to prison, and getting an education."
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. I'm wondering why we don't have a better way to prediagnose these soldiers
before it goes too far?
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 06:46 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Onset of PTSD has unpredictable latency...
consequently although soldiers can be screened for stress related symptoms on return from overseas, those screenings will not identify every veterans that will develop it.






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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
6. Why just veterans?
They should open the program to all mental health & substance abuse cases.
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Cid_B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Why?
Veterans earned their benefit.

The crack addict on the corner didn't.

If you want to start a special program like the ones mentioned above then go ahead but don't bog down the veteran court.
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Good question, I can think of 3 factors that are in play
Edited on Sat Nov-12-11 11:37 AM by HereSince1628
and I am probably missing many others that are important.

1. Prisons are overcrowded. There isn't room for everyone, resources for substance abuse and other psych issues within the prison system are stretched thin. Prisons aren't a good place to address PTSD and/or to gain resilience to drug abuse for offenders whose circumstance suggests they could succeed if paroled to a treatment program.

2. Persons with service related health issues do have access to medical care, including in-patient/residential drug abuse treatment and other psych services through the VA. So there is a mechanism that a judge can tap to insure access to treatment for those offenders for whom parole to a treatment program is appropriate.

3. Lastly, the country still has a lot of guilt/concern over the failure to address homelessness, PTSD and substance abuse in Vietnam veterans and there is a discernible commitment to not allow the vets of our recent conflicts to be similarly neglected. Consequently, judges may be more likely and communities more accepting of the notion of 'giving vets a break' than they are to other offenders.

If there was universal healthcare that recognized mental disorders as authentic health problems (and I believe this nation should have that) it would be relatively easy for a judge to require entry into treatment programs as a condition of probationary release from a jail sentence.
As it is the costs for these services are high and states, counties and municipalities are all looking to reduce, if not bail-out entirely, on social commitments to mental health.
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Actually, it's not just them. The rich and politicians have had this for years
Edited on Sat Nov-12-11 11:33 AM by The Straight Story
;)
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