Veterans Treatment Court tackles a wide range of veteran-specific issues and offers legal assistance to people who have served in military forces. You can recover from substance misuse and co-occurring mental health concerns with addiction centers’ veteran-specific treatment. 

Veterans confront several obstacles after leaving the service, including a higher risk of substance use disorders (SUDs), mental illness, suicide, chronic pain, trauma, and unstable housing.1 Veterans court diversion programs were created to address the growing number of veterans suffering from substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions who were simultaneously dealing with legal troubles.

What is the Veterans Treatment Court?

Instead of jail, veteran treatment courts provide treatment for substance use disorders and mental health conditions. These programs are modeled after existing drug or mental health treatment courts, which were established to assist people with SUDs and mental health disorders in receiving short- or long-term rehabilitation treatment rather than simply jail time, which does not address the underlying issues that contributed to the illegal behavior.

The bonds of military duty are deep. Veterans have numerous unique experiences that civilians do not. According to research, typical community assistance may be insufficient to fulfill veterans’ unique requirements in the criminal justice system.

Veterans Treatment Courts allow veterans to go through the treatment court process with their peers and link to federal, state, and local resources specifically tailored to meet the unique requirements of military personnel.

Veterans Treatment Courts use the Drug Court paradigm. Participants receive first-rate treatment and other resources to help them get back on track and lead productive lives. Still, a judge also holds them accountable for fulfilling their societal, personal, and familial commitments. Participants are regularly and randomly tested for alcohol/drug usage, must appear in court regularly for the judge to examine their progress, and are promptly rewarded for performing well and sanctioned for failing to meet their duties.

How Does the Veterans Treatment Court Work?

Early research on Veterans’ treatment courts reveals hopeful results, with many participants reducing substance use and mental health symptoms while also improving their performance in other areas. These court programs differ from typical courts in critical ways intended to benefit Veterans. Specifically, they allow Veterans to attend individualized treatment programs that address SUDs and mental health concerns rather than going to jail.

Another critical aspect of the system is that, rather than having a different judge each time who may be unfamiliar with the unique challenges that Veterans face, in this model, Veterans are seen by the same judge each time and receive support from sources such as VA representatives, volunteer mentors who are also Veterans, and organizations that provide services to Veterans. The VA offers various services to Veterans in court, including assisting them in connecting to Veterans court programs, connecting to VA treatment services, and accessing community support services.

Eligibility for Veterans Treatment Court

The eligibility requirements for participating in Veterans Treatment Court vary by area. Some courts will accept Veterans accused of either a misdemeanor or a felony, while others will only take one. Furthermore, not all courts accept Veterans who have been charged with a violent offense or domestic abuse; however, some do.

Most significantly, veterans can engage in treatment court and must be willing to do so. The VA has a Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) program, which can help Veterans establish eligibility and appear in a Veterans’ Court.

What Crimes Does the Veteran Treatment Court Handle?

Treatment courts deal with various crimes, depending on the locality. These crimes may include public intoxication, disorderly conduct, probation or parole violation, driving under the influence (DUI), domestic violence, delinquency or non-payment of child support, drug possession or trafficking, vandalism, theft, robbery, manslaughter, or sexual assault. The most prevalent charges handled by the Veteran Treatment Court were DUI, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and drug possession.

Benefits of the Veterans Treatment Court

Veterans treatment courts can enhance outcomes for those who have served the country while helping to benefit society. Receiving treatment can help Veterans stay sober so that they can better manage their mental health difficulties, lowering the risk of suicide and other legal issues. Veterans who participate in treatment court are less likely to be incarcerated and are more likely to find work, receive VA benefits, and keep their jobs. These programs also assist veterans in maintaining stable, independent housing, which has the potential to reduce veteran homelessness significantly.

Veterans courts are intended to help justice-involved defendants address the complicated treatment needs associated with substance misuse, mental health, and other difficulties particular to the traumatic experience of war. Some veterans returning from war find it difficult to reintegrate into their communities. Veterans with untreated substance addiction or mental health issues, such as PTSD and TBI, may have a more difficult time returning home, which can occasionally lead to criminal conduct. Veterans’ treatment courts address the underlying causes of veterans’ criminal behavior. These courts seek to resolve criminal matters through treatment and support. Veterans participate in a program adapted to their specific needs in these courts.

Distinctive Features of Veterans Courts

The most apparent distinction between a veterans court and other problem-solving courts is that participants must be current or former military members. Other differences include the veteran’s court team having at least one person who is knowledgeable about veteran and the army culture, terminology, benefits, and any other veteran or military concerns that may emerge.


Veterans Treatment makes use of the camaraderie that exists among all veterans. Volunteer veteran mentors are essential to Veterans Court because they provide their fellow veterans with a wide range of help. They are the leaders of the veterans court team and the participants. Their engagement with the participant, including a supportive relationship maintained throughout the program, increases the likelihood that the participant will stay in treatment and improves their odds of success and sobriety. Veteran mentors devote their time and efforts to helping fellow veterans with peer support, housing, career connections, job training, education, transportation, disability compensation claims, discharge status, and other local, state, and federal resources.