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Hundreds More to be Served in Tennessee Veterans Treatment Court

Thursday, November 06, 2014 | 04:37am

NASHVILLE – Through a $1.5 million federal grant, the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is providing increased funding to Veterans courts in Shelby County, Montgomery County and Davidson County. The result is an expansion of services, over a three-year period, giving hundreds more service members in Tennessee the option of pursuing treatment and recovery programs rather than incarceration.

Tennessee’s Veterans Treatment Court, which helps service members and Veterans who come into the criminal justice system, will be assisting 263 more Veterans over the next three years.

“It’s much more than just a way for Veterans to avoid a jail sentence,” said E. Douglas Varney, Commissioner TDMHSAS. “This is a voluntary decision for a service member who’s arrested on a non-violent offense to seek help, get into recovery and start receiving the mental health and substance abuse treatment they need.”

                                   Tennessee's Veterans Court Expansion

LOCATION                                 CURRENT CAPACITY                        NEW CAPACITY

Shelby County                              60 Veterans                                        117 Veterans

Montgomery County                     40 Veterans                                          78 Veterans

Davidson County                           35 Veterans                                         68 Veterans

The ultimate goal is helping more Veterans and service members recognize what triggers their criminal behavior and identify ways to help them break the cycle of crime, court, and jail.

In addition to assessing, diagnosing, and offering treatment options, the Veterans Court initiative goes even further. Those who volunteer will have the opportunity to secure a stable home, receive job assistance, and help to finish their GED or pursue college level courses.

“We have joined several federal, state and local partners to support at-risk Veterans as they go through the process to get their lives back on track through Veteran Treatment Courts statewide,” Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder said.  “The wounds of war are not always visible and when we have the chance to connect Veterans with services, resources, treatment, jobs and a second chance we should use that opportunity to show them the same commitment they showed in serving their country.”

The treatment timeframe ranges from 12 to 18 months. Those Veterans who engage successfully in the program will experience other meaningful benefits, such as improved relationships with friends and loved ones, better employment opportunities and the likelihood they won’t commit crimes in the future.

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