New law passed gives more support for veteran services
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Last year, over forty attorneys general signed a letter encouraging Congress to further support Veteran Treatment Courts by passing the Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act of 2019. This act was passed on July 20, 2020 and signed into law by the President on August 8, 2020.
The Veteran Treatment Courts are diversionary court processes used for minor, non-violent offenses. These courts pair veterans with mentors to address substance abuse and mental health issues and assist veterans in obtaining U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) benefits to help with treatment and employment. The VA reported 561 Veteran Treatment Courts and similar court programs as of 2019.
The bill states, “empirical studies show that veterans courts provide more effective means of rehabilitating justice-involved veterans than traditional criminal prosecutions. Although 20 percent of veterans court participants received jail sanctions during the program, only 14 percent experienced a new incarceration during an average of nearly one year in the program”.
The passage of the bill establishes the Veteran Treatment Court Program in the Office of Justice Programs, providing coordinated technical assistance to veteran advocates and local officials.