The Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) mission is to divert veterans, who meet strict requirements, from the traditional criminal justice system and provide them with tools to lead a productive and law-abiding life. Veterans in the program must attend regular court status conferences, participate in the development of their treatment plans, and engage in community groups as required.
VTCs are hybrid drug and mental health courts that help veterans struggling with addiction, serious mental illness or other disorders. Studies show that such courts enhance public safety, cut recidivism and are more cost effective than the typical manner of processing offenders.
Stressful combat duty does not necessarily end for veterans after they return home. Many return with post-traumatic stress syndrome or other mental health issues. Additionally, drug or alcohol abuse may be caused or aggravated by their military service. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that approximately 10 percent of adults arrested have served in the military.
Veterans are offered the opportunity to participate in the court on a voluntary basis. Veterans who choose to participate are assessed by a mental health professional and their treatment needs are determined. The veteran will then have his or her charges deferred pending successful completion of the treatment plan, at which time the charges will be dismissed.
Research shows that treatment court judges are motivators who provide ongoing encouragement to participants as they undertake the difficult work of recovery. VTCs also link veterans with services, benefits and program providers, including the VA, Veterans Service Organizations and volunteer veteran mentors.