Education & Training

Emerging Issues: Returning Veterans, PTSD and Other Injuries, and Their Impact on the Criminal Justice System


In February of 2007, Donna Jacobs (DJ) began working under a grant from the Santa Cruz County United Veterans Council to form a position as Santa Cruz Veterans Services Advocate. Responsibilities as an advocate are to assist the U.S. Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) veterans with reintegration of vets with families and community. As Veterans Advocate, DJ gained support from various social service agencies to develop programs under each agency and brought them together to benefit our vets and their families. These agencies included: Mental Health, the Sheriff’s Department, the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s office, the emergency medical and psychiatric departments at the local hospital, as well as housing and employment agencies.

Currently, DJ is working with the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s office to 1) ensure all combat vets of IOF and OEF are afforded the right to use the AB 2586 Alternative sentencing law in our county and 2) develop a Veterans Court Advocate Program. DJ is working to secure money from the Mental Health Service Act to give to Santa Cruz County for veterans and their families who suffer the effects of pre- and post- combat deployment. DJ also worked with law enforcement agencies to bring first responders training to her county. This training is being post-certified and will be taught within the next few months.

Ms. Jacobs is the founder/president of Not This Time Vets, California 501(c)3 non profit; founded in 2005. She is a member of the California State Wide Veterans Coalition and a founding member of Farms to Veterans Coalition. Ms. Jacobs hosts Not This Time Vets “Veterans Update” on KSCO am radio weekly. She is the proud mother of a veteran of OIF.

DJ has spent many hours in Bldg 7 at Palo Alto VA hospital which treats our most severely wounded veterans and in so doing, meets the families of these injured vets. She has seen first-hand how TBI and related PTSD injuries affect vets’ lives and their families’ lives on a daily basis.

DJ is involved in sponsoring many other activities to benefit the Vets. Not This Time Vets sponsors an annual event called “Sweats for Vets” to collect new sweat pants for the men and women being treated at the hospital. In May 2005, DJ organized the first annual “Armed Forces Day” parade in Santa Cruz County and in May 2006, DJ organized the second annual Armed Forces Day parade also in Santa Cruz. In March 2006, DJ attended the Road Home Conference for veterans in Washington D.C. on a scholarship from the Substance Abuse-Mental Health Services Administration. In April 2006, Not This Time Vets collected over 800 lbs of goods sent to our troops in Iraq. In August 2006, DJ had the opportunity to sit down with Tom Johnson California Secretary of Veterans Affairs in Sacramento to discuss how to best reintegrate combat vets. In September 2007, DJ spoke on behalf of returning Vets at the Farm Aid concerts in New York City. In April 2007, NTTV Organized the “Blues for the Troops” Concert. Profits benefitted spinal cord injured vets and two vets were sent to the 2007 Veterans wheel chair games. DJ is a true activist and friend to the American Vets. Donna "DJ' Jacobs

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