FAIRFIELD — Veterans who run afoul of the law because of drug or mental health problems could soon be able to work out their legal, substance-abuse and mental health problems through a special veterans court.
The Solano County Veteran Services Office is working with the Solano County courts to set up a form of collaborative justice court called a veterans court. These courts are hybrid drug and mental health courts that use a drug court model to serve veterans who are have issues with addiction or serious mental illness and/or co-occuring disorders.
Ted Puntillo, the county’s veteran services officer, told members of the county’s Military and Veterans Committee last week that such a court could be set up this fall if plans for it go well.
As of December 2011, there were a dozen such courts established in other counties that include Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Tulare.
Those courts were in response to the growing numbers of veterans who were appearing before judges to face charges that stem from substance abuse or mental illness. The veterans courts pull in partners such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Benefits Administration and veterans’ family support organizations to help the veteran.
Local veteran services organization representatives were told the courts would address the needs of justice and better connect veterans with the treatment and rehabilitation programs they need.
“We want to bring that honor back to the veteran and help him make a successful transition to a successful life,” Puntillo said.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.