Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
December, 2014
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Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

(More) Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

County Benefits from “JBLM Day of Service”

It’s official!

Health Systems Doing a Good Job of Tracking Illnesses

Families Welcome New Members

Perfection is Reality for County Waste Water Treatment Plant

Less Leftovers, More Joy

The Klondike Kings and the telegraph to nowhere

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 A New Program Assists Veterans in the Thurston County Jail.

Incarcerated Veteran’s Reintegration Services Program.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office/Corrections Facility has initiated the Incarcerated Veteran’s Reintegration Services (IVRS) Program. It’s a joint effort through the Thurston County Veteran’s Program/Assistance Fund and the Washington Department of Veteran’s Affairs. The program, started last January, was implemented to address the needs of veterans incarcerated in the Thurston County Corrections Facility and was modeled on proven programs in other facilities in King, Pierce and Clark Counties. The program offers alternatives to jail, referrals to housing and employment services along with mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment. Many of the veterans have come to jail due to untreated drug and alcohol issues, poverty, homelessness, mental health issues and/or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The program provides:

  • Transitional housing for veterans upon release from jail.
  • Assessment and referral to the American Lake VA Medical Center for treatment of alcohol, drugs and mental health counseling.
  • Job referral and placement services.
  • Assistance with court appearances and early release requirements.
  • Case management to include family members to help assure success.

In order for veterans to be eligible for the program they must meet certain requirements including:
  • They must have been discharged under the following conditions: Honorable, Medical or Under Honorable Conditions.
  • They must have had at least 181 days of active duty service.
  • They must not have criminal convictions for the following: arson, sex offenses or violent crimes against a person.

The local facilitator of the IVRS Program is Travis Sayers. He is an Army Veteran with 13 years of service with a tour of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. So far, Travis has assessed more than 40 veterans and enrolled five inmates in the program. With assistance from the Jail Mental Health Diversion/Re-Entry Program Specialist Lisa Kurtzman, incarcerated veterans have a chance to seek the assistance needed to turn their lives around and become a functional part of society and the community. Enrollment is not the only measure for the success of IVRS. Assisting veterans in accessing VA benefits, which they had no prior knowledge of, can be a life changing situation. The belief behind the program is that the soldiers once honored us with service and sacrifice and we should be honored to provide them the necessary help and assistance to improve their lives.

Visit the Thurston County Corrections web site.

The authors of this article are: IVRS Coordinator Travis Sayers and Thurston County Corrections Chief Todd Thoma.

By Travis Sayers/Todd Thoma

The Corrections Bureau web page. The Corrections Bureau web page.