Veteran's Justice Outreach (VJO)

Veterans Justice Program (VJP)

The Veterans Justice Programs of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) include the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program and the Healthcare for Re-Entry Veterans (HCRV) Program.

The VJO Program:

The purpose of the VJO program is to end unnecessary criminalization of mental illness and extended incarceration among Veterans by ensuring that eligible Veterans in contact with the criminal justice system have access to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical, mental health and substance services.

The Connecticut VJO program is a federal program that is designed to provide outreach services to eligible Veterans who are involved with the criminal justice system. Justice-involved Veterans can be at risk for homelessness and struggling with issues of substance abuse, mental illness and/or physical health problems. The goal of the program is to provide both the consultation and the assessment necessary to facilitate access to VA services by providing the court with an individualized treatment plan that can be used as an alternative to incarceration.

Responsiblities of the VJO Specialist:

The VJO Specialist is responsible for acting as the clinical liaison between the VA and the criminal justice system to provide outreach, assessment, and case management for eligible justice-involved Veterans across the state. The VJO program does not cover Norwich, New London or Middletown courts as those courts are covered by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) Veterans Jail Diversion staff. The VJO Specialists are social workers, employed by the VA CT Healthcare System are outplaced in New Haven Superior Court, Waterbury Superior Court and Milford Superior Court. The VJO Specialist will consult with the DMHAS Jail Diversion Staff and/or other criminal justice agencies to facilitate linkage to treatment within the VA system for all other courts covered by the VJO Program, where the VJO Specialist is not physically present. All communication between the VJO Program and the criminal justice system requires that the Veteran sign a VA release of information before the VJO Specialist can speak to anyone regarding the legal case or VA treatment.

The VJO Program is also responsible for providing psycho-educational trainings and consultations to DOC, local law enforcement agencies, the courts and other community agencies regarding how substance abuse and mental illness, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury and other combat related disorders, impact the Veteran's daily functioning and may contribute to criminal justice system involvement.

The VJO Specialist can:

· Serve Veterans who are eligible for VHA healthcare.

· Assess Veterans’ treatment needs to identify appropriate VA and non-VA services.

· Refer and link Veterans to comprehensive health care services.

· Communicate with the court in regards to a Veteran's medical, mental health and substance abuse treatment (which may include program attendance, treatment progress, evaluation, and discharge planning) as long as there is a valid authorization signed by the Veteran in place.

· Link court-monitored Veterans to Evidence Based Treatment specific to their needs.

The VJO Specialist Cannot:

• Accept Custody of Veterans

• Guarantee program acceptance

• Advocate for legislation

• Serve VHA ineligible Veterans

• Perform forensic psychiatric/psychological evaluations for the court.

Referrals to the VJO Program are accepted from all parties including:

• Veterans

• Family Members

• Community Providers

• VA Staff

• Court Judicial Staff

• Department of Corrections

• Attorneys

For a complete listing of Court addresses and the VA CT Veterans Justice Outreach staff responsible for covering each court open the pdf file at the bottom of this page entitled "Connecticut Court Coverage Doc Updated 6-2015.pdf".

VJO Program Contact Information:

Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Specialists:

Varsha Dubose, LCSW
GA-22 Milford Superior Court
Cell: 203 228 1281

Alesia Wellington, LCSW\
Office Phone: 203-236-8273
Fax: 203-236-8229

This is a website maintained by Veterans and volunteers. While the contents of this site have been developed in cooperation with VA personnel, it is not an official site of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The HCRV Program:

The mission of the HCRV Program is to provide Veteran-specific services to incarcerated Veterans in order to assist them to make a successful re-entry into our communities and to become productive members of the community in which they choose to reside.

The HCRV Specialist provides outreach services in federal and state correctional institutions including:

· Education on VA eligibility and benefits.

· Information on how to enroll in health benefits at VA facilities.

· Provision of a needs assessment for community re-entry and linkage to local services.

· Provision of post-release referrals to VA programs and other community resources.

Post-Release Services:

The HCRV Specialist develops a supportive and structured community placement to help re-entry Veterans live and work successfully outside of an institution. By providing ongoing support, short term case management and coordinating treatment with local state and federal probation and parole agencies, the HCRV Specialist ensures seamless services and support for re-entry Veterans.

Referrals may include:

· Substance abuse treatment

· Mental health treatment

· Primary Care clinics for ongoing medical care

· Vocational and independent living skills programs

· Community Transitional Residence

HCRV Program Contact Information:

HCRV Specialist:
Michele Roberts, LCSW
Cell: 203-492-9540

Steps To Assess Eligibility:

The first step to providing VA healthcare to a Veteran is to identify him/her as a Veteran eligible for services through the VA healthcare system.

Please ask: “Have you ever served in the United States Armed Forces or military?” Building this question into your booking, interviewing, arraignment processes, assessment and community re-entry programs as soon as possible will help to facilitate eligibility determination for Veterans.

The second step in determining eligibility is connecting the Veteran to the VA eligibility/admissions offices at the West Haven and Newington campuses. VA clinical staff cannot typically provide information on eligibility regarding determination of benefits. However the VJO and HCRV clinicians can be contacted for additional questions or guidance with this process.

Available VA Services may include:

· Inpatient and outpatient medical and/or psychiatric care

· Nursing home referrals

· Sexual trauma counseling

· Specialized health care for women Veterans

· Homeless assistance and housing referral

· Readjustment counseling

· Vocational Services

· Mental health recovery & treatment services including: short term alcohol and drug treatment, anger management, and PTSD treatment

Important Phone Numbers:

Eligibility/Admissions Offices

VA Connecticut Healthcare System
West Haven Campus
203-932-5711 ext. 3328

Newington Campus: 860-667-6700

Psychiatric Emergency Room-WH

Carol Sanders, LCSW
203-932-5711 ext. 4345

OEF/OIF Program Manager

Erin Blatchley
203-932-5711 ext. 7975

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1–800–273–TALK (8255)

HCRV Section Updated October 2019
Balance of Page November 2016
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