The veterans’ treatment court model was established to remove veterans from the regular criminal justice process and to provide an opportunity for the veteran to address conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse disorder that that may have led to their involvement in the justice system. In a veterans’ treatment court, the presiding judge works with the veteran and a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Justice Outreach specialist to establish a structured rehabilitation program and treatment plan that is tailored to the specific needs of the individual veteran.
S. 946, the Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act of 2017, requires the VA to hire additional Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) specialists to ensure veterans have greater access to effective and tailored treatment.
The bill authorizes $5.5 million for each fiscal year beginning in FY 2017 through 2027 to hire 50 additional VJO Specialists. Funding priority would be given to VA facilities that work with newly established or existing but understaffed veterans’ treatment courts. The legislation requires annual reporting on the implementation of the bill as well as its effect on the VJO program and a mandate for the Government Accountability Office to review and report on the implementation of the bill and the overall effectiveness of the VJO program for justice-involved veterans.
DAV Resolution No. 105 notes that veterans’ treatment courts evolved from a proven national model of diversionary drug and mental health courts to address the specific challenges many wartime veterans face post service and calls for the continued growth of veterans’ treatment courts.
Please use the prepared letter to write to your Senators and request support and passage of S. 946, the Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act of 2017. Thank you for your efforts and support of the Commander’s Action Network.
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