Veterans Treatment Courts

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Veterans Treatment Courts

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ugust 1, 2013 the Idaho Judicial District II opened their court room doors to veterans who are facing criminal charges with the start-up of the Veterans Treatment Court. The first Veterans Treatment Court began in 2008 and today there are over 250 court programs throughout the nation. The court program is modeled after Drug Courts, whereby treatment is the focus and participants are reviewed for participation in a Drug Court program, with the possibility of having their charges either dismissed or reduced.

The District II Veterans Treatment Court serves both combat and non-combat veterans. These court programs were developed to keep veterans out of the prison system and to address their treatment needs. The Veterans Treatment Court, like Drug Court, is based upon a team concept. Stakeholders from various professions come together to form an interdisciplinary team, including the Judge, Coordinator, Probation, Defense Attorney, Prosecutor, Treatment providers, and a VA liaison. There is collaboration within the court and with the treatment providers and liaison, focusing on each veteran and their individual needs.

Veterans are assessed for a variety of treatment needs, including PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, mental health, domestic violence, substance abuse and a variety of medical needs. Once those needs are determined, the veteran will have further assessments before the court determines if they’re eligible for the 18-24 month program.

Not only do Veterans Treatment Courts provide treatment, they also have a mentor program, whereby veterans are assigned a volunteer mentor from the community. The mentor provides support and encouragement.The mentor program has been a highly successful component for the program.

The District II Veterans Treatment Court holds a monthly educational Forum for veterans in the program and veterans within the community. The Forum is held at the Lewiston VFW Hall at 1104 Warner Avenue from 1730 – 1830 the third Thursday of the month. A meal is donated by various businesses and individuals in the community.

Veterans throughout the decades have provided a service to our country with a mission to keep the citizens of the United States safe. They need our help as they return from combat, many having experienced horrors that some of us could never imagine. It’s our responsibility to make sure that they receive the services and resources to help them address treatment issues and begin to adjust to civilian life. Their lives will never be the same and for most of us we’ll never understand their experiences, but we can be there to support them!

For more information about Veterans Treatment Courts or how to volunteer to be a veteran mentor or provide a meal for our monthly Forum, please call Lisa Martin, Veteran Treatment Court Coordinator at 208-790-1748.

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