WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) on Monday voted for the bipartisan Veteran Treatment Court Act of 2019, of which he is an original cosponsor. The legislation unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is now heading to the President’s desk to be signed into law. The legislation establishes the Veteran Treatment Court Program in the Office of Justice Programs, providing coordinated technical assistance to veteran advocates and local officials to help them stand up and expand treatment court programs.
Currently, veteran treatment courts are started and supported by dedicated individuals and organizations coming together to help local veterans. However, there is not a coordinated effort from the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance, grants, and best practices for communities with a veteran treatment court, or for communities who want to start one.
Background on the Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act:
After serving our country, too many veterans are experiencing mental health issues, substance abuse, and homelessness, which can often land them in the criminal justice system. Veteran treatment courts provide the counseling, care, and support veterans need to help address these challenges rather than sending them to jail.
Now awaiting the President’s signature, when signed the Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act will establish a program within the Department of Justice, in coordination with the VA, to provide grants, training, and technical assistance to help state, local, and tribal governments develop and maintain veteran treatment courts. The first veteran treatment court was established in Buffalo, New York in 2008. Since that time, additional courts have been successfully adopted in state and local courts throughout California and the nation.
The legislation has received the support of American Legion, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, American Logistics Association, American Military Society, American and Navy Union of the USA, American Retiree Association, Armed Forces Retirees Association, Association of the US Navy, Military Order of Foreign Wars, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Military Order of World Wars, National District Attorneys Association, National Military & Veterans Alliance, National Veterans Court Alliance, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, The Flag and General Officers Network, The Independence Fund, The Retired Enlisted Association, Society of Military Widows, Vietnam Veterans of America, and Catholic War Veterans.