Roundup: Fast-tracking family violence cases pays off; women on probation, parole have more mental illness; stressing an old brain affects memory

A man who stabbed his girlfriend 12 times in February pled guilty to attempted murder yesterday, a little more than a month after the assault. The case was part of a project to fast-track family violence cases in Minneapolis area, according to this interesting report by David Chanen on StarTribune.com.

The Anoka County project, which started in September, already has dealt with 75 serious “intimate partner” domestic assault cases. Because prosecutors can assure victims that their case is on a fast track for trial, victims recant less and make fewer requests to modify or drop no-contact orders, county officials say. Victims quickly become comfortable with the legal process because the county offers a variety of social services, including counseling or chemical dependency treatment for the offender.

The county attorney called the county’s domestic abuse project the most advanced in Minnesota. County law enforcement officials had already implemented a rapid assessment tool to determine whether an abuser would continue attacking his or her partner, and found that in half the calls, that was likely.

MORE SUPPORT FOR PREVENTION programs and changing our criminal justice system to be trauma-informed comes with SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) research that shows half of women between 18 and 49 on probation or parole had experience mental illness in the past year. That’s compared to 27.5 percent of women who aren’t in the criminal justice system.

“This report highlights the very real need for providing better behavioral healthcare for women emerging from the criminal justice system,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “Providing these services not only meets a vital public health need, but is a very sound investment since it can prevent many at-risk women from returning to the criminal justice system. Since women play a vital role in families, schools, business, and government, the recovery of women to productive lives can have an enormous positive impact on America’s communities.”

Being trauma-informed refers to creating a system that doesn’t further traumatize already traumatized people. The whole report is here:
STRESS COMES IN MANY forms, with many unintended and harmful consequences for all ages, as this post on MedicalNewsToday.com about research from the Center for Studies on Human Stress at the University of Montreal shows. Just the beginning of the research overview may pique your interest:
Your mother had a doctor’s appointment for a memory test. The results are conclusive: she presents with the first signs of Alzheimer type dementia. Now, to get to her appointment, your mother, who is no longer used to driving in town, took her car, looked for a parking space for 15 minutes, got lost in a labyrinth of one-way streets, had never used those new electronic parking meters before and is convinced that the “machine” stole her credit card number. Out of breath, she walked 20 minutes looking for the doctor’s office and finally arrived late for her appointment, even though at this advanced hour of the afternoon she usually has a nap. Could all of these elements have influenced the results of her memory test?
Yep. In surprising ways. Check out the MedicalNewsToday.com post for more.

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