What is Veterans Court

Simply put, the Veterans Treatment Court is a second chance.

A second chance for veterans with substance dependency and/or mental illness and trauma who have found themselves in the legal system facing serious charges.

Roughly 8 percent of the county’s veterans are eligible for participation but due to lack of knowledge about VTC and restrictive practices by prosecutors, we don’t always see every eligible veteran participating in VTC. For those that do participate, 95% graduate and go on to lead productive lives. What other programs do you know where there is less than 5 percent recidivism rate?

How does it work?

Eligible veteran-defendants with substance dependency and/or mental illness that are charged with either felony or misdemeanor criminal offenses can be have their case diverted to a specialized criminal court docket, Veterans Treatment Court.

The court substitutes a treatment problem solving model for traditional court processing, which helps the veteran-defendant avoid prison time and taxpayers avoid paying for that time.

VA healthcare providers identify a veteran’s eligibility using evidence-based screening and assessments. The veterans voluntarily participate in a judicially supervised treatment plan that a team of court staff, veteran healthcare professionals, veteran peer mentors, substance abuse and mental health professionals develop along with the veteran. The plan is reviewed monthly.

The treatment plan components include:

Completion of their program is defined according to specific criteria. Many will have their charges dismissed upon successful completions and others are assured of avoiding incarceration for their current charges upon completion.

Are you a Justice involved veteran?

Veterans get into the program in a variety of ways. Defense attorneys often will advocate for an eligible veteran to plea into VTC if the attorney is aware. Another way is for the VA’s Veteran Justice Outreach Coordinator to find the veteran while in jail and advocate on his/her behalf.

A veteran can ask to be put into the program also. To qualify, a veteran must be facing a felony conviction, have a treatable condition and be eligible for VA health services. The county prosecutor has the final authority to allow a veteran to participate if all other requirements are met.

Are you a veteran who is facing charges and believe you might qualify for this program? Or perhaps you have a loved one who fits the qualifications. Contact us today to learn more.