TOPEKA – (August 11,
2020) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says a new law funding Veterans
Treatment Courts will give states an additional tool to help reintegrate
veterans returning home from military service into their local communities.
Treatment Coordination Act of 2019, a bipartisan measure that establishes a
Veterans Treatment Court Program within the U.S. Department of Justice, was
signed into law by the president on Saturday. The new law will provide grants
and technical assistance to state, local and tribal courts to implement
veterans treatment courts. Last November, Schmidt joined 43 other state and
territorial attorneys general in urging its passage.
“This new federal
support will help states identify and support veterans who otherwise may get
lost in the court system for minor offenses,” Schmidt said. “We owe it to
veterans who are suffering from a service or combat related injury, mental
health issue or substance abuse to provide medical treatment and therapy to
help prevent a cycle of recidivism, non-recovery, or serious injury or death.”
Courts are diversionary court processes, similar to drug and mental health
courts, used for minor, non-violent offenses. These courts pair veterans with
mentors to address substance abuse and mental health issues and assist with
obtaining veterans benefits to help with treatment and employment.
The Johnson County
Veterans Treatment Court Program was launched in 2016 as the first Veterans
Treatment Court in Kansas. There are currently more than 450 Veterans Treatment
Courts in 40 states and territories.
general noted in their letter that more than 16 veterans a day commit suicide,
and in 2017 the suicide rate for veterans was 1.5 times the rate for
non-veteran adults. Since September 11, 2001, more than 3.3 million Americans
have voluntarily served in the armed forces.
A copy of the letter
is available at https://bit.ly/2rFhmKb.