June 19, 2017

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, and the University of Alabama’s School of Social Work will present a conference aimed at helping veterans in the court system June 23.

The conference will address “issues of military veterans who either have been incarcerated or faced diversionary courts,” Acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey announced earlier this week. The conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 23 in Cumberland’s John Carroll Moot Courtroom, located at 800 Lakeshore Drive in Homewood.

The daylong meeting, called “Justice Involved Veterans: From Arrest to Successful Reentry” will look at veterans following their discharge from the military to help determine what stages they are the most vulnerable to committing a crime. The conference also will explore how to improve the chances that a veteran will successfully integrate back into society if they are jailed, and will examine veterans’ alternatives to prison.

“Military veterans too often return from service to face daunting challenges at home,” Posey said. “As a nation, we must do more than thank them for their service and move on. We need to acknowledge that many struggle with PTSD, with unemployment and chronic homelessness, and sometimes with the rule of law. This conference will provide information to help service providers, lawyers and law enforcement better assess the needs of troubled veterans and help them build successful lives after serving their country, and sometimes after serving their sentence for a crime.”

The conference will include a morning and an afternoon session with panel discussions. Evan Seamone, an attorney at the Veterans Law Clinic of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, will speak in the morning; David L. Pelletier, project director for the Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, will speak in the afternoon. Members of the discussion panel include Jefferson County District Attorney Pro Tem Danny Carr, AL Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Clyde Marsh, Shelby County Veterans Court Judge William Bostick, and Jefferson County Deputy District Attorney Mike Philpott.

The conference is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and RSVPs are required by June 19. To RSVP, contact phillip.howard@usdoj.gov. Continuing education credit for attorneys and social workers is available.