The Ingham County Veterans’ Treatment Court program allows veterans to complete an 18 month probationary term divided into four phases along with individual goals that the judge will deem need to be accomplished before each individual’s next court appearance. A Probation officer will review each case, ensuring the completion of each goal before the next court appearance.
Adjusting Back to Life is Difficult
Veterans from all branches of the military may have a difficult time adjusting back to life when they have returned home, and many have found themselves in the criminal justice system. In March of 2010, the Ingham County Veterans Treatment Court was established to allow certain veteran-defendants the opportunity to take part in a specialized criminal court specifically centered upon rehabilitation for those veterans suffering from mental illness or substance dependency when charged with felony or misdemeanor crimes. In lieu of traditional court processes, the court offers a treatment problem solving model for each veteran-defendant.
Creating an Impact on our Veterans
In order to create an impact on our veterans, those involved in the Veterans’ Treatment Courts are issued a mentor as studies have shown that veterans respond better to other veterans in similar situations than they do to those that are not veterans. Mentors allow the veteran to know that there is someone there who cares about them and that they are not going at this alone. By fostering a trusting relationship with the veteran, mentors greatly increase the likelihood that the offending veteran will proceed as a law-abiding citizen in the future. Mentors of the court include those who have served in WWII, Vietnam, Desert Shield, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Networking with Others
The system provides a network of understanding individuals that are accessible to veterans that may otherwise feel as though they are completely alone. Once the court program is complete, assistance is also offered to veterans who need help with job placement, mental health, substance and alcohol abuse, medical insurance and finding a place to live. In helping those who may not necessarily be able to help themselves, the Ingham County Veterans’ Treatment Court program is giving veterans who have served our country the opportunity to move back into society and lead a law-abiding, productive, meaningful life.