The Yellowstone County Veterans Treatment Court (known as Courts Assisting Military Offenders or CAMO) was founded in Billings, MO in 2012. Elligible participants are veterans who currently serve or have served in the U.S. Armed Services and immediate family members of veterans affected by deployment and charged with a felony or misdemeanor offense. In addition to having a diagnosed substance use and/or mental health disorder, participants may have the need for extensive case management services and/or ancillary services. The program also meets a gap in service, providing substance use and mental health treatment to veterans not eligible for VA services due to their discharge status or income restrictions.
Clients are eligible for Veterans Treatment Court at various points in within the Justice system. The referral base is very broad as CAMO is a regional Veterans Treatment Court. Judges statewide, clients identified by the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO), law enforcement, attorneys, probation and self-referrals are considered. Clients can enter CAMO at pre-plea, post-plea, and pre-sentence. We also receive many referrals from probation in lieu of the filing of a formal probation violation and revocation. Clients are identified by the jail as had having military service.
Every effort is made to accept participants into CAMO from the population of focus within 50 days of arrest. The court needs adequate jurisdictional target time of 12-24 months. Sex offenders and some registered violent offenders are excluded.
CAMO uses an electronic case management system, DCCM (Data Collection Case Management) that Coordinators use to screen potential clients for eligibility, plus risk and needs are assessed by RANT and Center for Court Innovation Assessment.
Once determined acceptance into CAMO, clients review contract with Defense Attorney, observe court and then are formally inducted into program. Orientation and drug/alcohol testing is conducted immediately following induction. Treatment begins on next business day.
Orientation/ Phase I: Length of time: 30 days in program, weekly court appearances, minimum 3 weeks sober, testing minimum 3 times/ week, $50/ week in fees, attend minimum 3 self-help meetings per week, one case management / week.
Phase II: Length of time: 60-90 days in program, Bi-weekly court appearances or Weekly depending on Risk Level, minimum 6 weeks sober, testing minimum 3 times/ week, $50/ week in fees, attend minimum 3 self-help meetings per week, one case management / week.
Phase III: approximately 90 days in phase III, Bi-weekly or Monthly court appearances depending on Risk Level, 90 days sober, drug and alcohol testing minimum 3 times/ week, $200/ month in fees due to the court, attend minimum 3 self-help meetings per week, one bi-weekly case management appointment, Complete 10 hours of community service to a site of participant choice.
Phase IV: approximately 90 days in phase IV, Bi-weekly or Monthly court appearances depending on Risk Level, 18 weeks sober, drug and alcohol testing minimum 3 times/ week, $200/ month in fees due to the court, attend minimum 3 self-help meetings per week, one monthly case management appointment, 20 hours of community service to a site of participant choice, present relapse prevention plan to group.
Phase V: approximately 90 days in phase V, Monthly court appearances, 24 weeks sober, drug and alcohol testing minimum 3 times/ week, $200/ month in fees due to the court, attend minimum 3 self-help meetings per week, one monthly case management appointment, present relapse prevention plan to team.
CAMO utilizes the follow Evidence Based Practices:
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Matrix Model
- Moral Recognition Therapy (MRT)
- Motivational Interviewing
- Prolonged Exposure (PE)
- Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT)
- Seeking Safety
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Other treatments utilized:
- Equine Therapy
- Trauma Yoga and Meditation Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Gender Specific Groups
- Couples Counseling
- Family Counseling
- Anger Management
CAMO has an outstanding mentor program. This mentor group is a volunteer group of men and women with prior military service. Participants meet with Veterans individually and/ or group weekly. They may have more frequent contact with participants via phone, email or test. We facilitate an orientation program that includes information and training on the role of mentors, boundaries, common conditions of participants and how to refer concerns to court. This program has been extremely beneficial to participants. Mentors attend weekly staffing and relay participant’s progress from the previous week. They meet administratively and participate in ongoing training.
CAMO is participating in two Pilot projects with the Center for Court Innovation. The first Pilot Project, Teleservices allows participants to attend court, treatment, compliance monitoring and testing remotely.
The second Pilot Project, VTC Enhancement, has three parts: a Short Screener Tool, a Comprehensive Assessment Tool and Case Planning Management Tool. Participants follow a Supervision plan based on Risk Levels determined from Comprehensive Assessment.
CAMO has an established Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Court and US Attorney to accept federally charged Veterans.
CAMO partners with Independence Hall to provide housing to homeless Veterans. Independence Hall, a 20 bed transitional housing facility, is available to Veterans who are Honorably Discharged.
Participants of CAMO have access to the “Store” that is supplied with free clothing and personal care items. Clients can choose to get Store credit as an incentive or other items that are available that day. The Store is utilized for participants who are homeless or discharging from incarceration and need these items.