How Do You Keep Veterans Out of Jail?

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


A judge in Buffalo, NY has instituted something that’s the first of its kind—a veterans’ treatment court. From CNN:

“They look to the right or to the left, they’re sitting there with another vet,” [Judge] Russell said, “and it’s a more calming, therapeutic environment. Rather than them being of the belief that ‘people don’t really understand me,’ or ‘they don’t know what it’s like’—well, it’s a room full of folks who do.”

If the veterans adhere to a demanding 1- to 2-year regimen of weekly to monthly court appearances, drug testing, and counseling, they could see their charges dismissed, or at least stay out of jail.

After counting 300 veterans in the local courts last year, the judge tailor-made the treatment court to address not only vets’ crimes but their unique mental health issues.

A substance abuse counselor from the VA is in the court room with a laptop loaded with the defendant’s health records, ready to hook him or her up with available programs and track their progress. As a great side benefit, perhaps this will help accelerate our society’s consideration of treatment, rather than punishment, for others from less “deserving” groups who offend non-violently.

Not bad. What is bad, however, is three hundred returning soldiers revolving through that one court alone; what an epidemic we’re facing as the war on terror continues.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate