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Veterans Who Break The Law Helped Through Special Court

The program offers resources to veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or who have substance abuse issues or psychological problems stemming from their deployment to combat zones or experiences that led to childhood trauma.

A Riverside County Superior Court program that offers treatment options for veterans facing criminal penalties that may stem from substance abuse and similar problems received a $350,000 federal infusion, it was announced today.

The Veterans Court, implemented in January, was awarded the three-year grant from the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance.

The funds will go toward maximizing resources for veterans "who have entered the criminal justice system as a result of their dedicated service," according to a court statement. "Funding will be used to enhance the program's ability to test for drugs and alcohol, client transportation, interim housing ... evaluation and additional probation support."

Superior Court Judge Mark Johnson, an Army reservist and former defense attorney, oversees the Veterans Court, which is held once a week at the downtown Riverside courthouse.

The program offers resources to veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or who have substance abuse issues or psychological problems stemming from their deployment to combat zones or experiences that led to childhood trauma.

In exchange for having their cases heard in the Veterans Court, defendants have to plead guilty or consent to their probation being reinstated. Felons and misdemeanants are eligible to participate. They're placed in intense 18-month treatment programs, with regular progress reports to the judge.

Agencies partnering in the effort include the District Attorney's Office, the Mental Health and Probation departments, the Office of the Public Defender, the Riverside Police Department and the U.S. Veterans Administration.     The federal funding will support 65 veterans who opt to enter the program, according to court officials.

Cik Bast August 28, 2012 at 02:35 PM
As ex-military, from long ago, I cant help but feel that veterans are becoming the new welfare & entitlement class, just as unionized [insert trait here], or indians and mexicans are today, just by virtue of the veteran title or [insert other title or class here]. The government you vote-in are pandering to these classes of child-like behavior self-entitlement folks to keep them on the dole.
V.W.D.S. August 28, 2012 at 03:09 PM
@Cik Bast - I'd hardly say they really receive a whole lot more than bare minimum if even that. I do charity work for veteran's causes and the need is huge! Our government simply does not have the resources to do much of anything for those that come back mentally or physically disabled. It seems as though they would, but they don't. The charitable contributions that I have seen have gone to some very needy individuals. The amount specified in this article hardly will cover much of anything other than someones salary for consulting fees on a few cases.
V.W.D.S. August 28, 2012 at 03:12 PM
@Airborne - I don't get that statement either, hardly relates to Veteran Service. However, they did not say 'Veteran's of recent wars' they just state Veteran's which leads me to believe that even Veteran's of previous wars, that perhaps are still struggling with abuse issues that started as a result of service could get benefits. The sad part is they usually require documentation and it is harder to follow a decades old time line of trauma.
Airborne Ranger August 28, 2012 at 03:46 PM
I just love this statement "The federal funding will support 65 veterans who opt to enter the program, according to court officials." In actuality the federal funding will help employ several additional county workers who will council, monitor and advise the 65 veterans. Notice that nowhere in the article or the actually state what benefits the Vet receives other than "They're placed in intense 18-month treatment programs, with regular progress reports to the judge. This is not welfare to the Vet, this is more welfare to government.
V.W.D.S. August 28, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I will agree with your assessment. And this is exactly what happens and why our Vets deserve better.

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