A Separate Peace

By Lithwick, Dahlia | Newsweek, February 22, 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

A Separate Peace


Lithwick, Dahlia, Newsweek


Byline: Dahlia Lithwick

Why veterans deserve special courts.

The problem is hardly a new one, but we need only watch The Hurt Locker to refresh our collective memory: veterans return from war, having seen and survived unspeakable things, then try to adjust to civilian life with inadequate resources and support. Depending on the study you read, between 20 and 50 percent of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffer from posttraumatic stress and other mental disorders--and half don't seek mental-health care. Those who do don't always receive the kind of care they need. The results of these systemic failures are increased instances of rape, assault, addiction, and other criminal acts that tangle up veterans in the criminal courts. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that veterans account for 10 percent of the people with criminal records.

The first "veterans' court" was launched in Buffalo, N.Y., in January 2008 by Judge Robert Russell. His program was based on the various "problem solving" tribunals around the country, ranging from specialized drug courts to mental-health and domestic-violence courts. Drug courts, for instance, integrate treatment with justice-system case management, and closely supervise and monitor participants. Studies show they have decreased recidivism rates as well as the cost of incarceration. In recent testimony before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Russell said his program teams veterans guilty of nonviolent felony or misdemeanor offenses with volunteer veteran mentors, requiring them to adhere to a strict schedule of rehabilitation programs and court appearances. One hundred and twenty veterans are enrolled in the Buffalo program; 90 percent of participants have successfully completed the program, and the recidivism rate is zero.

Since the Buffalo experiment was launched, 22 other cities and counties have created their own veterans' courts. The Senate is looking at legislation introduced by John Kerry and Lisa Murkowski to fund more veterans' courts for nonviolent offenders. Whether these will serve violent offenders as well is already a difficult issue for legislators and judges. The Buffalo court handles chiefly nonviolent offenses. But that may not solve the problems in Colorado Springs, Colo., where there have been 15 former GIs arrested in connection with a dozen murders over the past five years.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

A Separate Peace
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?