The Veterans Justice Outreach Program is designed to collaborate with local justice system partners, such as police departments, court systems, probation and parole, public defenders as well as prosecuting attorney’s offices, to identify Veterans that enter the criminal justice system and are in need of or could benefit from treatment services rather than incarceration. The goal of the program is to provide timely access to VA services for eligible Veterans, preventing homelessness and avoiding unnecessary criminalization, while providing routes to mental health and other clinical treatments, such as substance abuse treatment. Associate Circuit Court Judge of the 26th circuit, Aaron Koeppen says, this program is still new in the 26th Circuit:
Army Sergeant Carl Russell was the first graduate of the Veterans Treatment Court in the 26th Circuit. He said the Veterans Treatment Count helped turn his life around after two tours of duty in the Middle East and suffering from PTSD:
Russell says the important thing he took away from Veterans Treatment Court is a Veteran is not alone. The program is not designed or authorized to provide legal advice or legal representation in court.