Special Veteran's Court to Open this Month in SMC

According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, one in six veterans returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has a substance-abuse problem and one in five has symptoms of a mental disorder or cognitive impairment. In response to this, the Seattle Municipal Court is set to open a special court September 20, 2011, for military veterans who have been charged with anon-violent crime. In like kind, our King County District Courts are probably not far behind in doing the same.

The special “Veteran’s Court” is intended to give some veterans who have been charged with gross misdemeanor and misdemeanor offenses a chance to obtain substance-abuse and/ or mental-health treatment while still being held accountable for their actions. The idea is to provide a specialized court experience for veterans; one tailored to their special needs with a specific supportive environment.

Similar to Seattle Municipal Court, the King County District Court is on track to create its own Veterans Treatment Court Possibly by January 1, 2012. King County intends to use approximately $130,000 worth of unspent Mental Health Court expansion funds to welcome 15 or so veterans into therapeutic programs. Veterans with mental health issues, post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury may be eligible to participate. Although 2012 is funded, it hasn’t been determined yet how to fund an expanded program in 2013,

It is believed that Medical and mental-health services would be provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which set up an office two years ago to help local governments get assistance for troubled vets.

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10.0Gregory Wayne Schwesinger
10.0Saad Qamer Qadri