The operation of Veterans' Court is based on the team concept. Members of the team include attorneys and staff from both the Prosecutor's Office and the Office of the Public Defender, Counselors, Supervising Officers, VA, and administrative staff.
Prior to each Treatment Court session, the team holds a staffing where each participant's progress is reviewed in detail. The team discusses each participant's compliance with the strict Treatment Court regimen which includes numerous counseling sessions, frequent drug testing, as well as, educational and employment requirements.
In the event the participant is doing well, the team recommends specific rewards and advancement through the program. However, if the participant is doing poorly, the team will recommend sanctions ranging from community service to jail and up to expulsion from the program.
Through utilizing the team concept, the Veterans Court Judge gets the best information possible and has the opportunity to hear from a variety of perspectives when setting policy and prior to making decisions which will affect the individual participants.
To be eligible for Treatment Court, applicants must be charged with a felony charge in Sebastian County. The applicants are referred by the prosecutor or defense attorney and go through a thorough screening process. A history of sexual offenses is an excluding factor.
Participants come into Veterans Treatment Court with felony charges that could mean a term of imprisonment. If the participant is expelled from Treatment Court, there is no trial - they go directly to state prison. However, if they graduate from the Treatment Court program after completing all requirements, the criminal charges can be dismissed.
The recidivism rate for Specialty Graduates is substantially lower than other offenders. Some have gone on to owning businesses, graduating college, and almost all have dramatically improved their work opportunities and personal relationships.
HISTORY OF VETERANS COURT
The Veterans Treatment Court held its first review in June 2015.
The very first Veterans Treatment Court was organized in Buffalo, New York in 2008. The concept has changed the lives of service men and women for the better. To put it simply: Veterans' Treatment Court works!
Veterans Treatment Courts seek to treat veterans suffering from a substance abuse and/or mental health disorder, while helping ensure public safety. These special courts combine rigorous treatment and personal accountability, with the goal of breaking the cycle of drug use and criminal behavior.
Veterans Treatment Courts are modeled after drug courts, which promote collaboration among the judiciary, community corrections agencies, drug treatment providers, and other community support groups. Drug courts have a remarkable track record over the course of their history.
Veterans Courts promote sobriety, recovery, and stability through a coordinated response involving the traditional partner found in drug courts and mental health courts, as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare networks, the Veterans Benefits Administration, State Departments of Veterans Affairs, volunteer veteran mentors, and veterans family support organizations.