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Copyright (c) 2011 New England School of Law
New England Law Review

NOTE: Helping Those Who Serve: Veterans Treatment Courts Foster Rehabilitation and Reduce Recidivism for Offending Combat Veterans

Winter, 2011

New England Law Review

45 New Eng. L. Rev. 463

Author

Jillian M. Cavanaugh*

Excerpt



Introduction
 
Military veterans returning home from deployment are finding themselves in trouble with the criminal justice system. 2 Veterans treatment courts are a new type of specialty court that started surfacing in the United States at the beginning of 2008. 3 These courts focus on providing rehabilitative treatment to combat veterans 4 who suffer from brain injuries, mental disease, or mental disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD"), which result from military service in either a combat zone or a hazardous duty zone. 5 Exposure to such environments increases the risk of traumatic brain injuries ("TBIs") and PTSD. 6 Statistics from 2008 show that nearly twenty percent of veterans returning home suffer from brain injuries, 7 and veterans who have been on multiple combat tours have a higher risk of PTSD (twenty-five percent) than those who served only one tour (twelve percent). 8 PTSD and other mental diseases have been linked to substance abuse - as a means of self-medication - domestic violence, and other criminal activity. 9

Veterans treatment courts are modeled after specialty courts such as drug courts and juvenile courts. 10 They work with local authorities 11 to provide offending veterans with treatment for the underlying causes of their criminal behavior, as opposed to convicting and sentencing the veterans to jail time. 12 Veterans treatment courts are directed at rehabilitating veterans and reducing recidivism via properly tailored counseling, drug and alcohol programs, and job placement programs that contemplate the veterans' specific ...
 
 
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