Veterans Treatment Courts

More than 250 veterans treatment courts now exist nationwide. They recognize the unique needs of veterans who get entangled in the criminal justice system, and endeavor to provide more effective resources to treat their problems than the traditional criminal justice system ordinarily provides. Despite their growth and popularity, little is known about their effectiveness, particularly in the target population they reach. We are partnering with Congressman Seth Moulton and the Massachusetts veterans court program on an ambitious and interesting project to understand who is excluded from veterans treatment courts (VTCs), why, and whether there are ways to help them too. We will work closely with the Commonwealth to collect and review information on veterans in the criminal justice system, and veterans who are in or have gone through VTCs, for the purpose of understanding the population and gaining insight into who truly benefits from the courts and who is excluded. We will use techniques used in evaluating mental health and other specialty courts to assess the VTCs and develop recommendations for expanding their reach to at least some of those who are currently excluded but who could benefit from them. The information we gather and develop into a report will be useful to the many jurisdictions that already host veterans treatment courts, as well as to those considering their adoption.

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