2013 -- S 0499

Enacted 03/20/13







     Introduced By: Senators Jabour, Cote, Bates, Pichardo, and Ottiano

     Date Introduced: February 28, 2013




     WHEREAS, Since 2001, over two million American military personnel have been

deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan; and

     WHEREAS, Rhode Island, along with the rest of the country, is witnessing the return of

our mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, and sons and daughters from the field of battle; and

     WHEREAS, Rhode Island despite its small size, has borne a significant share of sacrifice

in these recent conflicts; and

     WHEREAS, The call back to active duty status rate of our state’s National Guard is the

second highest in the entire United States, with over 10,000 unit deployments; and

     WHEREAS, The number of veterans living in Rhode Island who served in the Gulf Wars

is three times higher than the national per capita average, and is expected to grow as troops begin

to withdraw from Afghanistan; and

     WHEREAS, The current estimate of service members, who within a year of leaving

combat will develop psychological and neurological injuries associated with post traumatic stress

disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI), dubbed the “signature injuries” of the Iraq War,

is between 10 and 30 percent; and

     WHEREAS, A 2006 study illustrated the need in Rhode Island for trauma-related

services for veterans from the Gulf Wars (between 2,019 and 6,183 veterans in need) and other

wars (between 10,794 and 33,054 veterans in need); and

     WHEREAS, “No Soldier Left Behind” is a code which Americans have always been

proud to support and live by; and

     WHEREAS, We owe our returning soldiers a similar duty when they come home injured

or affected in a way that has altered who they are and what they do, especially if that injury

causes or fuels behavior that puts them into our criminal justice system; and

     WHEREAS, These men and women have volunteered to put on a uniform and have

willingly followed our flag into potential harm’s way. We now have a duty to assist these

individuals; and

     WHEREAS, The first Veterans’ Court in New England opened its doors for referrals in

the Rhode Island District Court in April of 2011, with dedicated resources and a specially

designated court calendar; and

     WHEREAS, The Veterans’ Court is a treatment court that requires dedication, hard work,

and motivation on the part of defendants, providing treatment programs which address the unique

challenges veterans face, while additionally providing them with the tools and insight needed to

become whole again, and ultimately reintegrate successfully into society; and

     WHEREAS, This state has continually supported and funded alternatives to

incarceration, that stress treatment, rehabilitation, and personal responsibility while saving

taxpayers the cost of incarceration and additional crime due to recidivisms; and

     WHEREAS, This Senate has previously resolved and urged the Congress of the United

States to pass legislation that would establish funding for individual states, including Rhode

Island, to implement recommendations from the President’s Joining Forces Initiative that would

strengthen behavioral health care systems and supportive services for returning service members,

veterans, and their families; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

hereby respectfully requests that the Congress of the United States authorize funding of the

SERVE ACT through the Office of National Drug Control Policy in order to further develop and

implement the District Court’s Veteran’s Treatment Court state-wide; and be it further

      RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit duly certified copies to the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation.