Photographed at the East Tennessee Veterans Treatment Court Mentor Orientation held on April 9-10, 2015 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
From left to right, Jack O'Connor, Buffalo NY VTC Mentor Coordinator, Patrick Welch, Ph.d., Buffalo NY VTC Senior Mentor, Judge O. Duane Slone, 4th Judicial District, Frank Vollmer, 4th Judicial District VTC Mentor Coordinator and Ed Junod, 6th Judicial District VTC Mentor Coordinator.
Circuit Court Judges O. Duane Slone and Ben W. Hooper I, began the formation Veterans' Treatment Court (VTC) on January 8, 2015. The formation of the Fourth Judicial District VTC includes Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier Counties.
Frank Vollmer from Sevier County joined the National VTC Mentor Corps in
December 2013 and again in June 2014. Our first justice involved veteran came from Grainger County in December 2014 and the second from Sevier County in March 2015
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs National
Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, the Fourth Judicial District
veteran population is 17,631 in 2015: Cocke County -
3,107, Grainger County - 1,880 , Jefferson
County - 5,110, Sevier County - 7,534
The national movement has helped create over 200 Veterans Treatment Courts in the United States.
In 2008, Honorable Robert Russell founded of the Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court and the VTC
movement. The program's focus is to address specific issues and problems unique to our military veterans.
First Published VTC Study Shows Incredible Success!
The Community Mental Health Journal
has released the first published study on Veterans Treatment Court and
the results are outstanding. Researchers from the Ohio Department of
Mental Health and Addiction Services tracked 86 veterans involved with
Veterans Treatment Court, all of whom were diagnosed with Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD). They found that 89.5% remained arrest-free
during their time in the program and concluded that the veterans
participating in Veterans Treatment Court experienced significant
improvement with depression, PTSD and substance abuse as well as with
critical social issues including housing, emotional well being,
relationships, and overall functioning.
The study further concluded that mentoring from volunteer veterans
is particularly effective. Veterans who received mentoring not only
experienced better clinical outcomes, they reported feeling more
“Veterans reported better treatment outcomes
and quality of life over time when involved in the Vet Court,” the
study states. “When provided programs and services that fostered
recovery, veterans improved markedly on all study measures. Veterans
particularly improved when provided a combination of trauma-specific
treatment, peer mentor services, and medication. The importance of
trauma-specific therapy and positive peer role models may be important
for veterans with combat exposure who have re-integrated into a society
unfamiliar with the struggles associated with combat experience.”
The Fourth Judicial District Veterans Treatment Court will provide integrated services through
a collaborative partnership with other judicial departments and community
organizations who share an interest in helping veterans. The veteran
participants come before the VTC Judge on a regular basis, are required to
attend all programs and focused on treating their addictions and dependencies,
perform community service works, maintain jobs, report to court team and probation
staffers as necessary, and work with the veteran mentor. Veteran specific
issues include – but are not limited to – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and substance abuse.
The Fourth Judicial VTC will be under the direction of
Circuit Court Judges O. Duane Slone and Ben W. Hooper II. The 4th Judicial VTC
Director is Patty Williams.