Veterans Treatment Court
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS VETERANS TREATMENT COURT?
It is a court supervised treatment program for offenders who served in the United States Armed Forces and whose offenses are primarily due to conditions that arise out of their military service, such as drug addiction and PTSD.
The Veterans Treatment Court encourages and promotes personal responsibility by holding participants accountable for their actions. Participants must go through two years of intensive outpatient treatment and attend regular court sessions and community-based support meetings as directed by the court and their treatment providers. (See below)
HOW IS VETERANS TREATMENT COURT DIFFERENT FROM THE TRADITIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM?
The goal of the traditional system is to prove guilt and incarcerate the offender. The goal of Veterans Treatment Court is for the offender to accept personal responsibility by acknowleging his guilt and complete effective treatment.
HOW DOES THE TREATMENT WORK?
Participants voluntarily submit to several specific requirements over a 24 month period:
• Attend regular court reviews with the Judge, court staff, defense attorney, and an assistant district attorney
• Attend individual counseling sessions with a licensed counselor and if, appropriate, with a substance abuse counselor
• If substance abuse is a factor in the participant's treatment, submit to random drug screens as prescribed by the program
• Gain, maintain, or improve employment options or enroll in school on a full-time basis
• Perform 80 hours of community service over the duration of the program
• Pay any child support and restitution obligations
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE PARTICIPANT FAILS TO MEET THE CONDITIONS OF THE PROGRAM?
If the participant fails to abide by the conditions of the program the Judge and the team holds the veteran accountable and sanctions apply.
IF VETERANS TREATMENT COURT DID NOT EXIST, WHAT WOULD NORMALLY HAPPEN TO THAT VETERAN?
He or she would be found guilty, serve time, or submit to supervision by an overworked probation officer. He or she would then promptly re-offend and repeat the cycle. While incarcerated, the offender would likely be exposed to an illicit prison drug trade.
With each cycle the veteran would dig a deeper hole for himself or herself and cost taxpayers more and more money.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR VETERANS TREATMENT COURT?
• Any Veteran charged with non-violent felony or misdemeanor offenses and who suffer from a documented mental health or trauma-related disorder and/or substance abuse disorder, or
• Any Veteran who suffers from developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries, subject to the veteran’s ability to benefit from the program.
• Veterans must be approved by their counsel and by the District Attorney and voluntarily choose to participate in the program
For more details see contact information below
IS VETERANS TREATMENT COURT SUCCESSFUL?
Veterans programs in other parts of the country have been successful keeping veterans out of jail and engaged with their families and communities where they belong. The program, started in 2011, continues to collect data to measure success on an ongoing basis, and is currently undergoing a rigorous evaluation.
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT TO THE COMMUNITY?
It saves money.
First, while the offender is in the program, he is not in jail. It costs taxpayers $58 per day to incarcerate an individual in the Chatham County Jail, not including the cost of medical care if the individual has special medical needs, such as diabetes. In contrast, Veterans Treatment Court costs taxpayers approximately $33 per day; ($8.73 is paid through Chatham County budgets). Second, for each graduate of the Veterans Treatment Court program, the number of days in the future that he or she would otherwise have spent in jail represents a savings of $58 per day.
It reduces crime.
Without the Veterans Treatment Court, the offender would have committed some unknown number of crimes recycling multiple times through the criminal justice system. With successful completion of the program, those crimes -- and their costs to the community -- don’t occur. This is because the Veterans Treatment Court employs evidence-based programs that is specifically designed to address criminal behavior and thinking patterns.
It salvages lives and promotes citizenship.
Veterans Treatment Court is a means for us as a community to answer the imperative of common decency by helping people who want help, ask for help, and are willing to work for it. It allows a person who has lost his or her sense of personal dignity and who has become a liability to society to regain that sense of worth and become a productive citizen.
WHO RUNS THE PROGRAM AND HOW CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
Veterans Treatment Court is part of a larger umbrella of Accountability Courts in Chatham County. For more information about Veterans Treatment Court, please contact:
Steve Brown, Coordinator
133 Montgomery Street, Room 616
Fax: (912) 652-7130