Monday, April 26, 2021

New York State extends availability of Veterans Treatment Courts

New York State officials have enacted legislation extending access to Veterans Treatment Courts (VTC) throughout the state.

These courts connect justice-involved veterans to appropriate services in a court setting, surrounded by an interdisciplinary team. These include the judge, court staff, prosecutors, treatment/service providers, defense attorneys, probation, law enforcement, volunteer veteran peer mentors, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Veterans Services, all of whom work collaboratively to help veterans.

Studies have indicated that VTCs reduce recidivism and alcohol and drug use and promote positive life changes that allows veterans to re-enter their communities in a positive and meaningful way, often with assistance of VA therapies.

Prior to this legislation, there were only approximately 33 VTCs in 25 counties. Due to the lack of a VTC in over half of the counties of the state, about one-third of New York veterans lacked access to a VTC.

The new law authorizes the transfer of cases from jurisdictions without VTCs to adjacent counties with VTCs and requires the chief administrative judge to establish new VTCs, to the extent practicable.