U.S. Department of Justice

Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance for Vets Who Have Lost Their Way [Internet Broadcast]

Publication year: 2015

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Thumbnail preview This program on justice-involved veterans, highlights the lifesaving role being played by veterans treatment courts (VTCs) across the country.

From WWII through the continuing global war on terror, there are approximately 21.5 million veterans in the U.S. today. So many of these men, and increasingly women, return home damaged mentally and physically from their time in service. These wounds often contribute to their involvement in the criminal justice system. As a result, veterans are overrepresented in our jails and prisons.

For these justice-involved vets, Veterans Treatment Courts are providing a pathway to recovery so that they can be restored to functioning and contributing members of society.

Veterans Treatment Courts, or VTCs, provide hope, restore families and save lives. The first VTC, founded in 2008 in Buffalo, New York, has inspired the creation of more than 220 courts of similar nature in jurisdictions, both large and small, across the country. Hundreds more are in various stages of planning and implementation.

These courts have the support of the communities they serve, as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and local service providing agencies. Critical to the success of VTCs are veterans who volunteer to be trained and serve as mentors to justice-involved veterans.

This training program will: Introduce Veterans Treatment Courts as an effective intervention and an alternative to incarceration for justice-involved veterans; Identify the unique issues which contribute to veterans’ involvement in the criminal justice system at the local, state and federal levels; Highlight the inception of Veterans Treatment Courts and the role they play in improving public safety, reducing recidivism, saving taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, restoring the lives of those who have served our country; Showcase model Veterans Treatment Court Programs, including Veterans Peer Mentor Programs; Demonstrate how to implement and sustain an effective VTC, including the vital role of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Veteran Peer Mentors; and Provide resources and next steps for jurisdictions interested in implementing a Veterans Treatment Court or looking to improve an existing program.

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