Provide authority for establishing veterans treatment courts

States can facilitate the development of Veterans Treatment Courts through legislation that supplements existing drug and mental health court statutes.

Rand Corporation reported as of 2008, 31 percent of the 1.8 million who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have a service-related mental health condition or traumatic brain injury.

A 2002 U.S. Department of Justice report indicated that veterans comprise 9.3 percent of all persons incarcerated — 70 percent were in jail for nonviolent offenses; 82 percent of veterans in jail were eligible for Veterans Administration services (65 percent honorably discharged and 17 percent general discharge with honorable conditions); and 18 percent of jailed veterans had been homeless.

Best Practices

For legislative best practices on facilitating the development of veterans treatment courts, view Veterans Treatment Courts Best Practice (PDF).

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Issue Status Key

The composite rating for this issue is based on the following criteria:

  • Star
    Bill introduced and currently active
  • Blue square
    State has made movement towards achieving desired outcomes; for example, passed best practice legislation, made policy changes, or shown where the state has policy supporting the desired outcome.
  • Yellow square
    State has not made changes that move towards achieving desired outcomes.


Desired Outcomes

This issue comprises three elements:

Treatment policy/courts
Established policy (or has operating courts) that focus on treatment

Selection policy
Established policy (or has operating courts) that facilitate court selection of veterans and service members who can most gain from participation in a VTC

Accessibility policy for VTCs
Established policy or court distribution to allow veterans throughout the state to participate