The Veterans Treatment Court Conference held in Washington D.C. is wrapping up after three days of seminars and speakers discussing the importance of special assistance to veterans who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki was the featured speaker for the national conference which brought together judges from established veterans treatment courts, military officials, and veterans support organizations from across the nation.
There are now 172 specialists working in U.S. district courts to help establish special treatment programs for veterans arrested for criminal cases such as DUI and violent offenses, according to ABC News. Judge Robert Russell established the first veterans treatment court in 2008 after noticing an increased number of veterans appearing in his court for substance abuse and violent crimes due to mental disorders such as PTSD.
Since the first court was established the concept has grown thanks to the VA’s support. Secretary Shinseki visited Judge Russell’s courtroom after the program had been running for a year and noted, “the power of the Veterans court concept was clear, undeniable, and compelling,” according to ABC News.
Mental disorders such as PTSD are becoming more common in veterans as doctors better understand the condition and more soldiers return from active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Without proper treatment, many veterans turn to self-medication with drugs or alcohol, leading to substance abuse and an increased risk of criminal actions.
Veterans courts give a fair chance to arrested veterans by helping them enter treatment programs for mental disorders or substance abuse. Veterans who suffer from these conditions are encouraged to seek help from the free health care programs offered by VA hospitals and clinics. In many cases, mental health disorders diagnosed as service-connected disabilities may lead to eligibility for veterans disability benefits.
The Law Offices of Veterans Help Group, PA can help if you file for veterans disability benefits and are denied compensation or given an incomplete disability rating. Contact our disability firm today – 1-855-855-8992.