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October 20, 2011

"Veterans Courts: Early Outcomes and Key Indicators for Success"

The title of this post is the title of this notable paper by Justin Holbrook and Sara Anderson, which is available on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The growing trend within the judicial, treatment, and advocacy communities toward specialized courts for military veterans raises important questions about the effectiveness of such courts in rehabilitating veterans.  Both principally and practically, veterans courts observers may take opposing positions regarding the appropriateness and effectiveness of placing veterans in a specialized, treatment-based court program simply because of their military service.  This chapter explores these challenging issues in two parts.

First, we undertake a discussion of first principle concerns related to veterans courts by reviewing research studies examining the link between veterans and criminal misconduct. The return of 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has re-ignited the still unsettled controversy over whether veterans suffering from combat trauma are more likely than their non-veteran counterparts to commit criminal misconduct after returning home.  While firm conclusions may be difficult (and unpopular) to draw, the issue warrants attention in any serious discussion about the merits and best practices of veterans court programs.

Second, we present early findings from an assessment we conducted of the practices, procedures, and participant populations of certain veterans courts operating as of March 2011.  Of the 53 courts invited to participate, 14 provided a response by completing either an online or paper survey.  Of these, seven submitted sample policies and procedures, participant contracts, plea agreements, and mentor guidelines for our review. Drawing on these courts’ common practices and procedures, we identify key operational components courts should consider in implementing veterans court programs.  We also conclude that veterans court outcomes, at least at present, appear at least as favorable as those of other specialized treatment courts.

October 20, 2011 at 05:14 PM | Permalink


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Excuses, excuses. Bill won't like this one bit.

Posted by: pjg | Oct 20, 2011 5:21:43 PM

pjg --

You need to get back to the Lindsay Lohan thread to start holding forth about why The Big Bad System is being too tough on Ms. Rehab herself, what with all her excuses -- uh, make that "reasons" -- that she just can't keep up with those pesky community service requirements.

Do tell!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 20, 2011 5:35:54 PM

Bill - Huh? What does your comment have to do with veterans courts?

Posted by: pjg | Oct 20, 2011 5:56:32 PM

pjg --

About as much as yours did.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 20, 2011 6:28:45 PM

O.K., I'll bite. Bill, what is your opinion of special veterans courts?

Posted by: pjg | Oct 20, 2011 11:14:39 PM

Well, since Bill's uncharacteristic silence has now become deafening, how about the rest of the no-excuses crowd? Kent? Tars? Federalist? Anybody? Do you think the "veteran excuse" is a legitmate one?

Posted by: pjg | Oct 21, 2011 4:24:46 PM


A very important concept is the rule of law. It should be applied equally without special consideration for someone's veteran status. Like anyone, they are able to bring up mitigating circumstances during trial.

I suspect that a "Veteran's Court" would be based on an assumption that a veteran committed a crime because of PTSD, etc. That is not appropriate.

Finally, why are you progressives such thoroughly angry people?

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Oct 22, 2011 7:59:26 PM

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