Veterans Probation Program

Lorain County was recently awarded a grant by the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. The grant was awarded to address the high rates of Veterans in the criminal justice system in need of treatment for trauma, substance abuse and mental illness. War related illnesses may contribute to high rates of substance abuse, suicide, domestic violence, divorce, homelessness, arrests, and incarceration. Recognizing the effect of war related illnesses, Lorain County decided to be proactive in its response to the realities faced by Veterans every day.

By providing effective and appropriate treatment in a Court-based, Judge-driven, Specialized Docket, the Veterans’ Treatment Court seeks to reduce recidivism, increase treatment compliance and continually improve the integration of systems in Lorain County. Members of the planning committee included a wide range of stake-holders representing community agencies, law enforcement, criminal justice and the Veterans Administration.

A Veterans’ Treatment Court for felony offenders in Lorain County is a continuation of the effort to provide a reasoned, effective, evidence-based response to the needs of Veteran offenders in Lorain County.

The agencies involved in this project include the Veterans Administration (VA), Lorain County Pretrial Services, the Court Clinic (Central Clinic), Lorain County Veteran Service Commission, and the Lorain County Court. The planning and implementation of this grant also included the close collaboration and support of the Lorain County Common Pleas Court through the active participation of Judge James T. Walther; Tim Lubbe, (former) Court Administrator; Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office; Lorain County Probation Department; and Lorain County Pretrial Services.

In September, 2013, the Veterans’ Treatment Court began its first docket with Judge James T. Walther. The Judge will hold Court one time per week and participants return regularly to Court for status review hearings. Prior to each docket the treatment team will meet with the Judge to review progress, problems and work together to implement cross-disciplinary responses. The treatment team consists of the Judge, Probation, Veterans Justice Outreach Support Specialist (VJO), Court appointed attorneys, designated Prosecutor, Peer Mentor Coordinator, Vet Center representative, and a coordinator from the Lorain County Veteran’s Service Commission.
For more information, call Chuck Schaffer, Probation Officer and Veteran's Court Coordinator at 440-326-4721.