35 New Eng. J. on Crim. & Civ. Confinement 357 (2009)
Veterans Treatment Court: A Proactive Approach

handle is hein.journals/nejccc35 and id is 361 raw text is: Veterans Treatment Court:
A Proactive Approach
Judge Robert T. Russell'
I. INTRODUCTION
As the veteran population in the United States continues to rise, so too
does the need for greater understanding of the impact of military service.
As of October 2008, the estimated United States veteran population was
23,442,000.1 Since October 2001, approximately 1.64 million U.S. troops
have been deployed for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom
 . . in Afghanistan and Iraq.2 Military service can impact the lives of
veterans and their families in countless ways. Many returning veterans and
their families cope with serious issues such as: alcohol and substance
abuse, mental illness, homelessness, unemployment, and         strained
relationships.3 Oftentimes, these serious issues go unaddressed, and many
of the veterans end up in our criminal justice system. With the increase of
veterans with serious needs in our criminal justice system, comes the need
for the system to develop innovative ways of working to address these
issues and needs. One court in Buffalo, New York, has developed a plan
for meeting the serious needs of veterans within the criminal justice system
and created the nation's first specialized Veterans Treatment Court.
t Judge Robert Russell is an acting Judge for the Erie County Court, located in Buffalo, New
York, and is the former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association of
Drug Court Professionals. Judge Russell established the nation's first Veterans Treatment
Court in Erie County, a specialized court for veterans who have committed non-violent
offenses. University of Buffalo Law Student and Intern Danielle Parent assisted with this
article.
I.  NAT'L CTR. FOR VETERANS ANALYSIS AND STATISTICS, VA BENEFITS AND HEALTH
CARE UTILIZATION (2008), available at http://wwwl.va.gov/vetdata/docs/4x6_fall08_
sharepoint.pdf.
2.  RAND CTR. FOR MILITARY HEALTH POLICY RESEARCH, INVISIBLE WOUNDS OF
WAR: PSYCHOLOGICAL AND COGNITIVE INJURIES, THEIR CONSEQUENCES, AND SERVICES To
ASSIST RECOVERY iii (Terri Tanielian & Lisa H. Jaycox eds., 2008) [hereinafter RAND
STUDY].
3.  Id. at 125-48.

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