Text: H.R.2147 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 115-240 (09/17/2018)

 
[115th Congress Public Law 240]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


            VETERANS TREATMENT COURT IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2018

[[Page 132 STAT. 2888]]

Public Law 115-240
115th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to hire additional Veterans 
  Justice Outreach Specialists to provide treatment court services to 
  justice-involved veterans, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Sept. 17, 
                         2018 -  [H.R. 2147]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Veterans 
Treatment Court Improvement Act of 2018. 38 USC 6303 note.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Veterans Treatment Court Improvement 
Act of 2018''.
SEC. 2. HIRING BY DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS OF ADDITIONAL 
                    VETERANS JUSTICE OUTREACH SPECIALISTS.

    (a) Hiring of Additional Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists.--
            (1) In general <<NOTE: Deadline.>> .--Not later than 1 year 
        after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of 
        Veterans Affairs shall hire not fewer than 50 Veterans Justice 
        Outreach Specialists and place each such Veterans Justice 
        Outreach Specialist at an eligible Department of Veterans 
        Affairs medical center in accordance with this section.
            (2) Requirements.--The Secretary shall ensure that each 
        Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist employed under paragraph 
        (1)--
                    (A) serves, either exclusively or in addition to 
                other duties, as part of a justice team in a veterans 
                treatment court or other veteran-focused court; and
                    (B) otherwise meets Department hiring guidelines for 
                Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists.

    (b) Eligible Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.--For 
purposes of this section, an eligible Department of Veterans Affairs 
medical center is any Department of Veterans Affairs medical center 
that--
            (1) complies with all Department guidelines and regulations 
        for placement of a Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist;
            (2) works within a local criminal justice system with 
        justice-involved veterans;
            (3) maintains an affiliation with one or more veterans 
        treatment courts or other veteran-focused courts; and
            (4) either--
                    (A) routinely provides Veterans Justice Outreach 
                Specialists to serve as part of a justice team in a 
                veterans treatment court or other veteran-focused court; 
                or
                    (B) <<NOTE: Plan.>>  establishes a plan that is 
                approved by the Secretary to provide Veterans Justice 
                Outreach Specialists employed

[[Page 132 STAT. 2889]]

                under subsection (a)(1) to serve as part of a justice 
                team in a veterans treatment court or other veteran-
                focused court.

    (c) Placement Priority.--The Secretary shall prioritize the 
placement of Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists employed under 
subsection (a)(1) at eligible Department of Veterans Affairs medical 
centers that have or intend to establish an affiliation, for the purpose 
of carrying out the Veterans Justice Outreach Program, with a veterans 
treatment court, or other veteran-focused court, that--
            (1) was established on or after the date of the enactment of 
        this Act; or
            (2)(A) was established before the date of the enactment of 
        this Act; and
            (B) is not fully staffed with Veterans Justice Outreach 
        Specialists.

    (d) Reports.--
            (1) Report by secretary of veterans affairs.--
                    (A) In general.--Not later than 1 year after the 
                date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of 
                Veterans Affairs shall submit to Congress a report on 
                the implementation of this section and its effect on the 
                Veterans Justice Outreach Program.
                    (B) Contents.--The report submitted under paragraph 
                (1) shall include the following:
                          (i) The status of the efforts of the Secretary 
                      to hire Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists 
                      pursuant to subsection (a)(1), including the total 
                      number of Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists 
                      hired by the Secretary pursuant to such subsection 
                      and the number that the Secretary expects to hire 
                      pursuant to such subsection.
                          (ii) The total number of Veterans Justice 
                      Outreach Specialists assigned to each Department 
                      of Veterans Affairs medical center that 
                      participates in the Veterans Justice Outreach 
                      Program, including the number of Veterans Justice 
                      Outreach Specialists hired under subsection (a)(1) 
                      disaggregated by Department of Veterans Affairs 
                      medical center.
                          (iii) The total number of eligible Department 
                      of Veterans Affairs medical centers that sought 
                      placement of a Veterans Justice Outreach 
                      Specialist under subsection (a)(1), how many 
                      Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists each such 
                      center sought, and how many of such medical 
                      centers received no placement of a Veterans 
                      Justice Outreach Specialist under subsection 
                      (a)(1).
                          (iv) For each eligible Department of Veterans 
                      Affairs medical center--
                                    (I) the number of justice-involved 
                                veterans who were served or are expected 
                                to be served by a Veterans Justice 
                                Outreach Specialist hired under 
                                subsection (a)(1); and
                                    (II) the number of justice-involved 
                                veterans who do not have access to a 
                                Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist.

[[Page 132 STAT. 2890]]

            (2) Report by comptroller general of the united states.--
                    (A) In general.--Not later than 3 years after the 
                date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller 
                General of the United States shall submit to Congress a 
                report on the implementation of this section and the 
                effectiveness of the Veterans Justice Outreach Program.
                    (B) Contents <<NOTE: Assessments.>> .--The report 
                required by subparagraph (A) shall include the 
                following:
                          (i) An assessment of whether the Secretary has 
                      fulfilled the Secretary's obligations under this 
                      section.
                          (ii) The number of veterans who are served by 
                      Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists hired under 
                      subsection (a)(1), disaggregated by demographics 
                      (including discharge status).
                          (iii) An identification of any subgroups of 
                      veterans who underutilize services provided under 
                      laws administered by the Secretary, including an 
                      assessment of whether these veterans have access 
                      to Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists under the 
                      Veterans Justice Outreach Program.
                          (iv) <<NOTE: Recommenda- tions.>>  Such 
                      recommendations as the Comptroller General may 
                      have for the Secretary to improve the 
                      effectiveness of the Veterans Justice Outreach 
                      Program.

    (e) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) Justice team.--The term ``justice team'' means the group 
        of individuals, which may include a judge, court coordinator, 
        prosecutor, public defender, treatment provider, probation or 
        other law enforcement officer, program mentor, and Veterans 
        Justice Outreach Specialist, who assist justice-involved 
        veterans in a veterans treatment court or other veteran-focused 
        court.
            (2) Justice-involved veteran.--The term ``justice-involved 
        veteran'' means a veteran with active, ongoing, or recent 
        contact with some component of a local criminal justice system.
            (3) Local criminal justice system.--The term ``local 
        criminal justice system'' means law enforcement, jails, prisons, 
        and Federal, State, and local courts.
            (4) Veterans justice outreach program.--The term ``Veterans 
        Justice Outreach Program'' means the program through which the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs identifies justice-involved 
        veterans and provides such veterans with access to Department 
        services.
            (5) Veterans justice outreach specialist.--The term 
        ``Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist'' means an employee of 
        the Department of Veterans Affairs who serves as a liaison 
        between the Department and the local criminal justice system on 
        behalf of a justice-involved veteran.

[[Page 132 STAT. 2891]]

            (6) Veterans treatment court.--The term ``veterans treatment 
        court'' means a State or local court that is participating in 
        the veterans treatment court program (as defined in section 
        2991(i)(1) of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 
        1968 (42 U.S.C. 3797aa(i)(1))).

    Approved September 17, 2018.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 2147 (S. 946):
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 115-682 (Comm. on Veterans' Affairs).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 164 (2018):
            June 13, considered and passed House.
            Aug. 22, considered and passed Senate.

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