On this edition of Conversations from Studio B, Tom Walker speaks with Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton.
Stratton talks about her efforts to use the courts to help the increasing number of veterans who suffer from war-inflicted brain disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.
With approximately 900,000 veterans, Ohio has the sixth largest population of veterans among the 50 states. Many of these veterans suffer from serious mental illnesses and substance abuse issues resulting from their military service.
Modeled after the first veterans’ treatment court, established in 2008 by Judge Robert Russell in Buffalo, N.Y., Ohio's veterans' courts seek to substitute “a treatment problem-solving model for traditional court processing” for criminal defendants who are veterans with substance dependency and mental illnesses, distinguishing between those veterans who had a criminal history before their military service and those who have entered the criminal justice system since completing their military service.
Once veterans in the criminal justice system are identified through evidence-based screening and assessments, defendants are connected with the Veterans Affairs services that they need.