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WHEREAS, officers and representatives of the Family and Children's courts are not familiar with circumstances surrounding military personnel and ultimately treat veterans with PTSD or service-connected injuries the same as convicted criminals when there are no criminal charges; and
WHEREAS, the Veterans Treatment Court has wrap-around services, a liaison, and case managers for veterans but only assist veterans that have a criminal charge in combination with a substance abuse problem or a mental health challenge; and
WHEREAS, unemployed veterans are required to report their VA Compensation as income thereby becoming ineligible for legal aid and causing veterans to pay attorney fees in Family and Children's Courts plus all other associated court costs which leads to increased financial ruin, homelessness, and family separation; and
WHEREAS, the veteran suicide rate is approximately 20-22 cases per day and 11% of all homeless adults in the US are veterans; and
WHEREAS, the mission of the Veterans Justice Programs is to identify justice-involved Veterans and contact them through outreach, in order to facilitate access to VA services at the earliest possible point by building and maintaining partnerships between VA and key elements of the criminal justice system; and
WHEREAS, veterans Justice Outreach Specialists at every VA medical center have provided outreach to justice-involved Veterans in various settings, including jails and courts in over 600 Veterans Treatment Courts and other Veteran-focused court programs across the U.S.; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP will work with the Department of Veteran's Affairs to expand veteran's justice resources such as the Veterans Treatment Court and Veteran's Justice Outreach.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP demands that Veteran's benefits be excluded from the calculations of income for Veterans seeking legal services in instances where they interact with the criminal justice system.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED,that the NAACP units will work with local veteran's justice programs to promote education and awareness of available resources.