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Best Practices and Systems of Support for Justice-Involved Veterans
The designation justice-involved Veteran is used to describe former service members who are involved in the criminal justice system. Involvement in the criminal justice system can range from initial arrest to court involvement, incarceration in jail or prison, or reentry into society. The high rates of mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorders (SUDs), and traumatic brain injury (TBI) have adversely affected more than half of justice-involved Veterans. A number of emerging best practices, programs, and standards of care have been developed to address the unique challenges faced by justice-involved Veterans. Diversion and reentry interventions have expanded access to legal services and housing, enhanced jail-diversion strategies through Veteran’s treatment courts and cultural competency training to first responders and provided reentry transition supports utilizing Veteran peer mentors. Additionally, supportive rehabilitation approaches have included specialized housing programs within jails and prisons, increasing connectedness among justice-involved Veterans.

This webinar will provide an overview of emerging best practices and systems of support for justice-involved Veterans from the “front end” or initial point of contact with first responders to the point of reentry and readjustment with support from systems, programs, and peers.

Jan 27, 2021 01:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Sean Clark, J.D.
National Director, Veterans Justice Programs @US Department of Veterans Affairs
Mr. Clark serves as National Director, Veterans Justice Programs in VA. VA’s Veterans Justice Programs include Health Care for Reentry Veterans, which provides outreach and linkage to VA services for Veterans reentering communities after long-term incarceration in state and federal prisons, and Veterans Justice Outreach, which serves Veterans involved with the “front end” of the criminal justice system (police, courts, and jails). Together, these programs are a prevention-oriented component of VA’s effort to prevent and end homelessness among Veterans, targeting the close relationship between incarceration and homelessness. Their mission also includes facilitating Veterans’ access to legal services, including by supporting the growing number of free legal clinics operating in VA facilities. Mr. Clark joined VA in 2007 as a Presidential Management Fellow. He has also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, DC. Mr. Clark earned his J.D. from William & Mary Law
Gregory R. Crawford
Correctional Program Specialist @NIC, DOJ
Mr. Crawford is a Correctional Program Specialist at the National Institute of Corrections (NIC). In addition to a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Chapman University, he has extensive leadership and criminal justice experience, which includes more than 20 years working in a misdemeanant probation department, a community-based mental health center, and over 8 years with NIC supporting the field on a national level. At NIC, Mr. Crawford developed the Veterans Compendium Project. This project aims to provide justice-involved Veterans’ resources at every point in the criminal justice system from law enforcement, Veteran’s treatment courts, local jails, prisons, and finally, to reentry. The most recent publication for the Veterans Compendium Project focused on specialized housing units for Veterans in prisons. For the next resource in the series, he is working with American University on a publication that will address reentry.
Ray Lay
Chief Executive Officer @SMI Enterprises, LLC
Mr. Lay was first diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at the age of 15 after being committed to a state-run mental institution. During his 3-year stay, his doctor and parents never disclosed his diagnosis. After being released, Ray joined the Marine Corps. He was a good Marine until he experienced a psychotic break (-down). He was discharged from the Marines without treatment and started self-medicating. After a long journey towards recovery, he received mental health treatment, the VA accepted his claim, and helped him move into housing. Today, he serves as a peer support specialist, engaging Veterans who have mental health or substance use issues to try to motivate them to get into and stay in recovery. He is also a part of the VA Medical Center’s Mental Health Intensive Case Management team. Mr. Lay serves on the Board of the Indiana Balance of State Continuum of Care and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.