KARA reports on the issues of child abuse.
This article submitted by CASA volunteer Mike Tikkanen
Woo Hoo – MN passed a restorative justice act for veterans – diverting at-risk veterans toward probation and social service programs instead of jail time when they commit certain crimes.
Why wouldn’t we?
The World Health Organization defines torture as extended exposure to violence and deprivation. Living in a war zone, bombs going off nearby or a buddy shot dead in front of you changes the brain.
Most of us want soldiers that have experienced traumas in the service of this nation to be treated for their mental health issues and have a path to rebuild their lives as productive citizens.
Every year we the people learn more about how trauma changes the brain and leaves behind badly broken people with often dangerous behaviors.
THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE is a plain language book that makes sense out of the complexities of trauma and brain function. There’s allot of trauma around and it is becoming a bigger part of all our lives – we need to get better at knowing how to fix it.
Punishing people that have suffered severe trauma generally makes things worse for everyone involved. Life is becoming unmanageable for these people and they are hurting themselves and those around them. Victims of trauma need our help – not more punishment.
Minnesota realized that providing healing and hope of reentry for veterans is preferrable to punishment, prison and a chance to become part of the almost 90% – nine year recidivism rates being seen in our prison system today (contrasted to the 0 % recidivism in the Ramsey County Veterans Court over the last six years). It’s also more affordable. Think of what it costs to keep that 90% in court, on parole, in prison plus the pain & loss of the crimes committed.
For as much as we have learned about PTSD in soldiers, there has only recently begun a move to provide the same caring approach for children and youth traumatized by their birth parents.
37% of children are reported to child protective services by their 18th birthday (a significant portion of America’s 80 million children). About half of the 6.6 million annual child abuse reports are investigated and almost two million children receive child abuse prevention services.
Children removed from their families because of traumas suffered by awful things done to them in toxic homes suffer from the same kind of mental health issues faced by veterans. Some of these children are traumatized further when they are placed in foster homes, group homes and many are abandoned and living on their own. What’s it like to be 15 and living on your own without the skills to fend for yourself?
80% of youth aging out of foster care lead dysfunctional live – many for their entire life.
Prisons and jails and schools are filled with traumatized youth. Minnesota’s former Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz has stated that “90% of the youth in Juvenile Justice have come through child protective services”. Traumatized youth entering a justice system they will most likely be part of for their entire lifetimes.
We will save lives and tax dollars by providing the resources traumatized children and veterans need to gain the coping skills and healing they need to lead productive lives.
Become a voice for sound policy. Speak, advocate, vote (share this with your friends).
#statistics#veterans#restorative justice#trauma#child abuse