Every Vermonter deserves accessible, affordable, quality services and supports to sustain a lifetime in continuous, fulfilling recovery.
After watching this video produced by Andrew McKeever at GNAT TV in Southern Vermont, the preceding sentence is flashing like a sign on Broadway in my mind.
"The Vermont Judiciary operates treatment court dockets and specialty dockets throughout the state. These dockets offer individuals with substance use disorders and mental health conditions the opportunity to enter treatment and avoid certain consequences, such as incarceration or termination of parental rights. The goals of these dockets include keeping communities safe, supporting treatment for participants, and ending defendants' criminal or harmful conduct." (https://www.vermontjudiciary.org/programs-and-services/treatment-and-specialty-dockets)
Successful second chances. Data in the December 2021 newsletter published by the National Drug Court Resource Center, featuring Vermont shares current key information that illustrates variables which contribute to why Vermont Roots and Wings Alliance was created as an organization and who serve:
"Even before the pandemic, it was harder for individuals with substance use disorders to seek treatment and recovery when they lacked basic resources like food, housing, and jobs"
"By January 2021, remote court operations were underway... there were challenges: • Participants did not consistently use the camera for videoconferencing. • Internet and cell phone coverage were limited, as Vermont’s rural areas lack access to cell towers and broadband. • Participants lost or damaged equipment. • The equipment did not always work and needed to be replaced."
"Another impact of COVID was the increase in overdose deaths, nationally and in Vermont. Overdoses among Vermonters who participated in treatment court docket, however, remained flat in Vermont."
Supporting basic life needs of participants... when watching the interview, specifically Cara Behm, these words matter. What did Cara need when she entered into the Treatment Court, what was provided, and why did that make a difference when nothing else worked? Listen to her... She explains how, with the help of this program, she evolved from a young woman who was frequently overdosing and engaging in criminal behavior to early recovery with full access to a Treatment Team crafting a plan that worked, and how that evolution has continued into years of sustained recovery, inclusive of retained employment, growth professionally and personal fulfillment and quality of life realized today.
We need more than the ability to share increased stories of success. We need the resources, services and options in place for the participants and alumni of Vermont Treatment Court Dockets. We need to demonstrate social responsibility, criminal justice reform, and the investment in successful second chances.
The link to full video is here.
More than ever, Vermont Roots and Wings Alliance needs your financial support to provide immediate, unduplicated support to those we serve. Please visit www.vtrootsandwings.org to make a donation, and if you or your organization is ready to make more of a commitment by joining our leadership (board or advisory council), please email email@example.com.
Special thanks to Andrew McKeever, GNAT TV News Director for his continued coverage and convening of conversations with respect to the recovery community in Bennington County, and greater Southern Vermont. We were honored to hear from Senator Dick Sears, Jr. and State's Attorney, Erica Marthage of Bennington County, as well.