What is Veteran’s Court?
Veteran’s Court is a treatment program designed for those who have committed crimes due to mental or psychological disorder’s they have acquired as a result of serving for the United States military. Mental disorders, trauma, and substance abuse problems are all too common for those who have come home from serving in the military; and with those issues can come legal complications. The idea of Veteran’s Court is to eliminate the jail time for offenses and give struggling veterans the help and treatment that they need. The criminal justice system and Veteran’s Affair Administration work together to devise a 6-24-month program with a focus on solving problems contributing to criminal behavior and helping the men and women who served our country re-integrate into society as a productive member.
Who is eligible for Veteran’s Court?
In order to qualify for Veteran’s Court, you must have served in the U.S. Armed Forces in a combat theater or during a wartime period and have committed a felony or misdemeanor offense in Chester County. The court also requires the individual to have been honorably, or other than honorably discharged to qualify. The individual must also be able to provide medical documentation of their disorder from after their service time and before the criminal act was committed. If there is a victim involved in the case, the Judge will require consent from the victim before allowing a defendant to participate in Veteran’s Court.
Crimes that are NOT accepted by Veteran’s Court are homicide, sexual offenses, robbery with violence or a weapon, and some felony assaults and burglary offenses.
What are the benefits of Veteran’s Court?
Benefits of Veteran’s Court include helping former members of our Armed Forces receive the help they need to live a functioning, healthy life while also sparing individuals jail time for an offense they did not mean to commit.
How does it work?
Before acceptance into the program, the individual must undergo a detailed evaluation by trained professionals inside the justice system and the VA. This evaluation is used to determine the appropriate treatment and levels of care each participant needs, by assessing your suitability for all of the programs offered by Veteran’s Court. Once the evaluation is done and reviewed, if the individual is accepted, it is required they plead guilty and sign the Veteran’s Court contract with a treatment plan in order to enter. Based on the evaluations done before acceptance into Veteran’s Court, an individual treatment plan in devised for the participant, including regular status hearings and review hearings in front of the Veteran’s Court Judge, intensive supervision, and random drug testing. The program also offers, but doesn’t require for all, drug and alcohol counseling, medication monitoring, employment and housing assistance, and access to Coatesville Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center and qualifying VA services.
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