Colorado's MINDSOURCE-Brain Injury Network gets national recognition

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Thomas Stanley Ricketts, Vinny Zecchino and Matthew Espinoza were featured in a recent U.S. News & World Report article. (Photos by Brett Ziegler, U.S. News & World Report)

Colorado's MINDSOURCE-Brain Injury Network and its partners with the University of Denver, the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado, the Department of Judicial, as well as Denver and Boulder County jails, were recognized in a recent feature article, "Traumatic Brain Injury and Incarceration: Ending a Vicious Cycle," in U.S. News and World Report.

The article features the stories of Vinny Zecchino, Matthew Espinoza, Thomas Stanley Ricketts and an anonymous 51-year-old woman — all of whom have recognized their personal struggles with brain injury and, more importantly, the strategies that can help them be more successful in their day-to-day lives.

As pioneers in the field of brain injury, MINDSOURCE received a four-year grant in June 2014 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program is in its fourth and final year. The focus of the grant has been threefold: screen for a lifetime history of brain injury; refer and provide case management support; and train criminal justice staff to support individuals with brain injuries in the criminal justice system.

Eighteen criminal justice settings — including probation, problem-solving courts, county jails and juvenile probation programs in Denver, Boulder and Larimer counties and Denver Drug Court — are involved in the program. To date, more than 1,200 individuals have been screened, and 900 were positive for some degree of traumatic brain injury. The Brain Injury Association of Colorado has provided case management services for approximately 250 of these individuals over the last four years. 

MINDSOURCE Director Judy Dettmer states, “The criminal justice settings we have worked with reported that knowing an individual has a lifetime history of a brain injury helps them understand the individual may have deficits related to brain injury versus a behavioral problem. Knowing this helps staff know what supports to put in place to help the inmate/probationer compensate for these deficits.” 

More than 500,000 Coloradans have lasting effects of traumatic brain injury. While the lives of citizens are greatly impacted, the lives of those in the criminal justice system can be devastated. 

MINDSOURCE is dedicated to brain-injury research and awareness, as well as identification,understanding and support for all Coloradans affected by brain injury.