New York State has an opportunity to expand access to Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs) to every veteran who needs one, no matter where they live.
Although most veterans adjust to civilian life without major difficulties, many 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 been charged with low-level offenses and have mental health or substance use issues. VTCs 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.
Watch a video to learn more about how New York State can make VTCs accessible to all veterans.
In 2019, the New York 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. In an unprecedented effort, the working group established a set of principles to create universal VTC access. To learn more, click here.