Specialized Courts Focus on Rehabilitation

As awareness increases regarding the complex array of physical and emotional issues faced by veterans, specialized veterans courts have been forming in jurisdictions across the country.  Not to be confused with the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, which reviews Board decisions regarding claims for veterans’ disability benefits, these courts try minor criminal cases and link veterans with the services they need.  The premise is that, if a veteran’s offense is related to issues such as traumatic brain injury, PTSD, a substance abuse problem, or military sexual trauma, it is more effective to address the underlying problem than to simply process the veteran in the traditional criminal justice system.  “Career criminals” and violent offenders normally are not eligible for these courts.  A veteran who is admitted to one of these programs will complete an individualized program, which may include counseling, skills training, housing services, and appearing at status hearings to demonstrate compliance.  Early reports indicate these programs are successful in preventing recidivism, and it is an issue CCK will continue to monitor.

Category: Veterans Law