June 23, 2019

Legislation: New Bill Establishes Veterans Treatment Court Program

Governor Bill Ritter signed a bill that enables the creation of treatment courts for combat veterans suffering from head injuries or mental disorders as a consequence of their warzone experiences.

HB 10-1104 offers an alternative to incarceration to combat veterans or members of the military who enter the criminal justice system for offenses involving drugs and alcohol that were used as self-medication for combat-related syndromes.

Over 1.6 million American men and women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, and of them, a significant number have or will “suffer, as a result of their military service, mental health injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety, and acute stress,” according to research cited in the bill.

The bill’s sponsors, Rep. Marsha Looper (R-El Paso) and Sen. Suzanne Williams (D-Arapahoe), proposed the legislation to augment the benefits the government extends to members of the military and veterans. According to the text of the bill, HB 10-1104 is a way to “honor the military service of our men and women by attempting to provide them with an alternative to incarceration when feasible, permitting them instead to access proper treatment for mental health and substance abuse problems resulting from military service.”

(image source: Wikimedia Commons)

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