Veterans Treatment Courts in New York State: Progress and a Roadmap for Growth
November 8, 2017
This NYSHealth-produced policy brief examines the progress of Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs) in New York State and lays out a roadmap for expanding VTCs across the State and nationally.
An alarming number of returning veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and substance use issues. Behavioral health issues among veterans are associated with various related problems such as homelessness, unemployment, strained relationships, and criminal behavior. Sometimes these challenges lead to involvement with the criminal justice system.
Founded in Buffalo, NY, in 2008 and replicated across the country over the past decade, VTCs are a type of specialty court geared toward veterans who have committed low-level crimes and have mental health or substance use issues. They provide an alternative to incarceration, giving justice-involved veterans a second chance by providing them with the treatment they need while allowing them to stay in their own communities.
In 2019, the New York State Health Foundation joined forces with the national organization Justice For Vets to convene a working group to develop a consensus plan to ensure that every veteran in New York has access to a high-quality VTC. The working group included representatives of the New York State Unified Court System, district attorneys, State officials, law enforcement, veterans, and other key stakeholders. In an unprecedented effort, these critical stakeholders established a set of principles to create universal VTC access. To learn more, click here.