November 11, 2017 - U.S. Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) and Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) on Thursday introduced the bipartisan Veterans Treatment Court Coordination Act to improve veteran rehabilitation efforts and keep veterans out of the criminal justice jeff denham officialsystem.

(Left) Congressman Jeff Denham

“With Veterans Day on the horizon, it is important to take this opportunity to not only thank our veterans, but also take steps toward giving back to those who have worn the cloth of this nation,” said Rep. Denham. “Making it easier to set up veteran treatment courts across the nation will help keep veterans in crisis out of the criminal justice system and give them the help they need and deserve.”

"We owe our veterans the very best care and service, but too often their unique needs and challenges are not met by the traditional criminal justice system," said Crist. "By bringing federal resources to this issue, we can help more veterans in difficult situations get back on their feet and thrive."

Veterans returning to civilian life, especially those who have seen combat, face a unique set of circumstances our criminal justice system is not ready or able to handle. Veteran treatment courts -- a new concept first formed in 2008 -- provide a solution. This type of court is modeled after drug courts and mental health courts and designed to give veterans with service-connected mental health or substance abuse issues a unique support and recovery system that is better suited to their needs than the traditional criminal justice system.

California’s Central Valley has already taken the initiative to set up veteran treatment courts, and they work. This bill would set up a Veterans Treatment Court Program coordinator at the U.S. Department of Justice to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This coordinator will be responsible for overseeing grants, training and technical assistance to bring veteran treatment courts to communities across the nation, with the goal of increasing access to this type of program for veterans who have been charged with non-violent crimes. 

For more info about veteran treatment courts, visit: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/community/keeping-PTSD-vets-out-JS.asp.
Source: Congressman Jeff Denham
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