July 14, 2019

Denver Drug Court Opens a Special Track for Veterans

Earlier this month, the Denver Adult Drug Court implemented a Veterans Track within its existing problem-solving courts program. As a result, some military veterans charged with non-violent crimes may now have the opportunity to be enrolled in the court-monitored treatment and accountability program.

The drug court program was expanded to create the new track, which is designed to balance the specialized treatment needs of veterans with the need to protect the community’s safety. The goal is to provide non-violent offenders with effective treatment while still holding them accountable for their actions.

According to the press release from State Judicial, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals reports that one in six veterans returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq suffer from a substance abuse challenge; one in five has symptoms of a mental disorder or cognitive impairment. Post-traumatic stress disorder can be an underlying factor in crimes allegedly committed by veterans and their subsequent involvement with the criminal justice system.

“The Denver Adult Drug Court once again is in the forefront in addressing the critical needs of vulnerable segments of our society,” said Denver District Court Chief Judge Robert S. Hyatt. “Providing a specialized court experience for veterans is a logical extension of the many services already available in the Denver Adult Drug Court.”

The new arm of the Denver Adult Drug Court is the second court program in Colorado specifically designed to address the needs of military veterans. A Veteran Trauma Court in the Fourth Judicial District, which serves El Paso and Teller counties, has been operating for two years with a similar goal and program.

Other new services provided to veterans have also been organized this month. The Colorado Bar Association is sponsoring Veterans’ Legal Clinics, which begin in November. Additionally, a new website has been created to connect local veterans with the people who want to help them resolve their legal issues.

For more information on Veterans Track program and the Veterans Trauma Court, contact Laura Williams, Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health, at (303) 866-7433 or laura.williams@state.co.us.

Click here to read the full press release about the veterans track from State Judicial.

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