According to government reports, there are 23,440,000 veterans in the United States and approximately 1.7 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that as many as one third of the adult homeless population has served in the military and that at any given time there are as many as 130,000 homeless veterans. This population mirrors the general homeless population in that 45% suffer mental illness and 75% suffer from substance abuse problems. Veterans are not more likely to be arrested than the general population. But there are significant numbers of veterans involved with the criminal justice system, many of whom struggle with mental health and/or substance abuse illnesses. A 2000 Bureau of Justice Statistics Report found that 81% of all justice involved veterans had a substance abuse problem prior to incarceration, 35% were identified as suffering from alcohol dependency, 23% were homeless at some point in the prior year, and 25% were identified as mentally ill.
In December 2011, California courts reported that nine veterans’ courts programs had been established throughout the state:
Los Angeles County Superior Court,
Orange County Superior Court (national mentor court),
Riverside County Superior Court,
San Bernardino County Superior Court,
San Diego County Superior Court,
San Mateo County Superior Court,
Santa Barbara County Superior Court
Santa Clara County Superior Court (national mentor court),
Tulare County Superior Court and
Ventura County Superior Court.
Additional veterans’ court programs are expected.
Questions regarding these local programs can be directed to the courts. To contact the courts, click here.For more information about veterans’ courts, email: CollaborativeJustice@jud.ca.gov
California Department of Veterans Affairs: http://www.calvet.ca.gov/
Public Counsel Law Center, Center for Veterans Advancement:
Justice for Vets: The National Clearinghouse for Veterans Treatment Courts:
SAMHSA National GAINS Center Veterans and the Justice System
Invisible Wounds of War Study: A Joint Project of Rand Health and the Rand National Security Research Division:
Mentoring and Veterans Hospital Program Policy and Procedure Manual, Buffalo Veteran’s Court:
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV)