A private donor has offered to pay half of the cost for an evaluation of California’s 25 veterans courts. California has the largest number of veterans in the United States and has been a testing ground for variations of the veterans treatment court model. The State is also one of the national leaders in terms of numbers of people incarcerated.
The Veterans Treatment Courts, based upon the Drug Court Model which first appeared in Miami-Dade County in Florida in 1988, has provided a venue for thousands of veterans who have interacted with the criminal justice system. In terms of evaluation no statistics were gathered on veterans passing through specialty court dockets prior to the launch of the first veterans court in 2008 so there’s no real base-line for comparison. Nevertheless, proponents for the model have been adamant in their advocacy for expansion of the model. Another aspect of the model is that the bulk of the veterans courts only admit non-violent, lower level felonies and misdemeanors.
By Katie Orr
JUNE 28, 2016
Of California’s 58 counties, 25 operate courts for veterans, including six in the Bay Area. They allow vets with substance abuse issues or mental health problems to be placed in treatment rather than prison or jail.
The state Senate Veterans Affairs Committee today approved a bill that would require an evaluation of those courts, with an eye toward possibly expanding them.
Businessman Wayne Hughes Jr. is sponsoring the bill and has pledged to pay for half of the study. It is expected to cost about $200,000.