Veterans returning from combat often face personal obstacles while attempting to re-adapt into the civilian world. Returning veterans often fail at adjusting back into a “normal” life because they don’t have the proper support system or resources.
Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seem to be demonstrating inordinate amounts of chronic psychological conditions like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some studies suggest up to 50% of veterans with PTSD or other major emotional disorders do not seek treatment for various reasons.
Veterans with psychological disorders who are not able to fit back into civilian life will normally end up homeless, addicted to drugs, in the court system, or all three. According to the VA, veterans account for 10% of all people with a criminal record.
Veterans’ courts were developed out of the idea that mental disorders, addiction, and homelessness are not best served by putting those people in jail. Buffalo, NY initiated the country’s first veterans’ court in 2008 and for the most part, handles solely nonviolent offenses.
The court matches veterans guilty of nonviolent felony or misdemeanor offenses with volunteer mentors. Once they are matched up, the veterans are:
- Required to stick to a very stringent schedule of court appearances; and
- Required to attend every court appearance.
Out of the 120 veterans enrolled in the Buffalo court program, 90% of the graduates have successfully completed the program. Quite possibly the most important part of the entire court program is the recidivism rate, which for the Buffalo court is zero.
The success of this program has inspired 22 other cities and counties to start their own veterans’ courts. Further, Senators John Kerry and Lisa Murkowsli introduced legislation to the Senate specifically to fund more veterans’ courts handling only nonviolent offenders.
Not everyone is thrilled with the veterans’ courts. Some ACLU chapters have issues with creating a separate legal class of individuals based on their veteran status. They look at this court as giving the veterans a chance not available to the general population.
Whatever comes of these courts, what is being demonstrated is that treatment works much better in some situations than incarceration. At least in these situations, counseling and monitoring are much more effective than simply locking people away.
Learn more about specialized veterans courts.
If you are a veteran and suffering from PTSD and fighting the VA to get disability compensation, contact Veterans Help Group, a veterans law firm located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We represent more than 5000 disability claimants. Our disability attorneys have experience with cross examining agency-appointed medical and vocational experts and take time when speaking with you about your disability claim. Call us today at 1-855-855-8992 for a FREE legal consultation. There is NO OBLIGATION to hire our firm and there are NO FEES unless one of our trained disability lawyers wins your case.