Since 1994, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), a non-profit organization 501 (c)(3) representing over 27,000 multi-disciplinary justice professionals and community leaders, has worked tirelessly at the national, state and local level to create and enhance Drug Courts. NADCP is now recognized as the experts in the field of addiction and its intersection with the criminal justice system. To date, NADCP’s National Drug Court Institute (NDCI) has directly trained 65,440 Drug Court professionals from all fifty states and U.S. territories as well as fourteen other countries. Because of the breadth, quality and impact of NDCI’s services, the Drug Court field has grown from 347 programs in 1998 to 2,600 Drug Courts currently in operation.
In 2009, NADCP launched “Justice For Vets: The National Clearinghouse for Veterans Treatment Courts.” Justice For Vets is exclusively committed to ensuring that veterans involved in the criminal justice system have access to Veterans Treatment Courts and the benefits, services and treatment they have earned.
The first Veterans Treatment Court was founded by the Honorable Robert Russell in Buffalo, New York in January, 2008 after he noticed an increase in the number veterans appearing on his Drug Court and Mental Health Court dockets facing charges stemming from substance abuse and/or mental health disorders. In response, Judge Russell asked his local VA Medical Center and volunteer veterans to join his staff in creating a new court docket that would focus exclusively on justice-involved veterans.
Veterans Treatment Courts are hybrid Drug Courts and Mental Health Courts that use the proven Drug Court model to serve veterans struggling with addiction, serious mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders. They promote sobriety, recovery and stability through a coordinated response that involves cooperation and collaboration with the traditional partners found in Drug and Mental Health Courts, with the addition of the US Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) – as well as State Department/Commission of Veterans Affairs, Vet Centers, Veterans Service Organizations, Department of Labor, volunteer veteran mentors, Congressional Offices, and veteran support organizations. There are now over 80 operational Veterans Treatment Courts with hundreds more being planned.
Visit www.JusticeForVets.org for resources, statistics, training opportunities and the latest Veterans Treatment Court news and events.