Legalman 2nd Class Adrienne Hill, Region Legal Service Office Japan Branch Office Guam, executed an island-wide professional development event with the Guam Veterans' Treatment Court (VTC).
Hill was responsible for this event from cradle to grave. She conducted all communications and coordination, and she flawlessly executed the logistics. The Guam VTC is a criminal justice diversion program that is specifically tailored for veteran and activity duty military members who have a service-connected substance abuse and/or mental health disability, often stemming from PTSD or TBI.
Members who qualify for the program undergo an intensive 18-24 month court-supervised treatment and rehabilitation program. After months of planning and coordination with the court coordinator, Hill arranged for legal personnel from both Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base to attend a VTC docket session where they observed over 20 Justice-Involved Veterans appear before the Judge, the Hon. Maria T. Cenzon. Afterward, Hill also arranged a roundtable discussion with all VTC team members, including the Judge, and representatives from the Guam Attorney General's Office, Public Defender, Probation, as well as several clinical service providers.
The team described the VTC, its unique processes, and the profound impact this criminal justice model has for those it serves.
"This is the bread and butter of what we in the JAG Corps do, and working through this pseudo-criminal justice system, almost a rehabilitation court, is a new & burgeoning idea in American judicial thought," said Lt. Philip K. Stevens, Office of the Force Judge Advocate, Command Naval Forces Japan. "I think this is a fantastic way to show how the JAG Corps is a dynamic organization that recognizes the difficulties of substance abuse and finds unique solutions. It was also a great chance for us to connect with our Air Force legal brethren to the north. This experience and knowledge will be powerful tools for us to carry forward into our practice and help us better serve our clients here on Guam."