The Veterans Treatment Court, or VTC, is a hybrid court, blending aspects of the traditional Drug, Criminal, Mental Health, and Diversionary Court processes. Its primary focus is on the effective identification, treatment, and successful reintegration of every enrolled veteran back into his or her local community. There are currently over 400 VTCs in over 46 US states. Here in Tampa and the 13th Judicial Circuit’s VTC, the program has received accolades and recognition from the local, state and national levels since its inception in late 2013.
Since September 11, 2001, and during the longest continuous US conflict in history (17 years Global War on Terror), over 2.6 Million men and women have voluntarily served in uniform which is less than 1% of the current US population. Yet, over 20 veterans a day commit suicide. Over 700,000 veterans are in some phase of the US criminal court process. One out of six veterans has a substance abuse problem. And, one out of five veterans has been diagnosed with some type of mental illness or cognitive impairment. This includes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) from roadside bombs and suicide bombers (IEDs). In many cases, upon returning stateside, these veterans subsequently commit a criminal offense which can be directly attributed to a service or combat related injury. Sadly, in many cases, these veterans are not properly identified, and they become lost, in the criminal justice system without the necessary help, medical treatment, and therapies. This encourages a vicious cycle of hopelessness, non-recovery, and ultimately, serious injury or death.
For more information on the VTC Program, click here to view the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Veterans Treatment Court brochure.
-"Never Leave a Fellow Service Member Behind".
Honorable Judge Michael J. Scionti discusses the Veterans Treatment Court.