Last Tuesday the House in their spending bill opted to raise the amount of spending for the veteran treatment courts by $3 million. This indicated the much awaited for support by the Congress for a diversion instead of the incarceration, for the many veterans who have been struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders for many years.
The House gave its approval of the amendment from Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Calif., to increase the spending on veteran treatment courts to $10 million, for the next coming year. The courts had been awarded a sum of $7 million in federal funding for this year. A large part of the finding is used in training the jurisdictions who are planning to open new treatment courts.
Justice for Vets happens to be a division of the National Association for Drug Court Professionals. The division offers technical and training assistance to the individuals who are operating veteran treatment courts.
The main job of the treatment courts is to make sure that the veterans do not relapse into their past criminal behavior by addressing the underlying issues affecting the veterans, which most of the time are mental health conditions or substance abuse. The courts partner together with the local Department of Veterans Affairs facility and using an employee from the local VA department they are able to link veterans to resources, such as housing, disability compensation and education benefits. The system depends so much on the volunteer mentors. These local mentors most of the time are part of local veterans service organizations.
Courts tailored to deal with veteran issues were first opened in the year 2008. As per this year the United States boasts of more than 350 veterans treatment courts that are, and 100 jurisdictions that are working day and night to create more courts.
The spending bill which happens to be the same bill that the amendment was included, H.R. 3354, was debated in the House last Tuesday. The bill will allocate funds to the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency and components of other departments, including the Department of Justice.