New York State Health Foundation

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Replicating Veterans Treatment Courts

Veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are at high risk for mental health disorders, but often encounter barriers to receiving high-quality mental health services. Left untreated, some of these mental health disorders (such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression) may increase the risk of encounters with the criminal justice system. Too often, the underlying mental health problems remain unaddressed and unresolved.

Recognizing the unique challenges veterans face, Buffalo City Court established a veterans treatment court in January 2008 to intervene in cases for minor criminal acts. This court was the first in the nation to offer services to help rehabilitate veterans and successfully reintegrate them into their communities.

Consistent with its commitment both to returning veterans and to spreading effective models, NYSHealth invested in the replication of veterans courts in 10 jurisdictions across New York State. Through a grant to the New York State Unified Court System, the project also supports the development of a curriculum and a train-the-trainer component that will enable additional courts and their partner agencies to bring the model to jurisdictions throughout the State.