An El Paso Country, Colorado district judge, Ron Crowder, recently sent a veteran with felony charges for drug abuse and impersonating a doctor to a halfway house instead of prison. Part of the El Paso Country Veterans Court, Crowder is also a veteran, and sensed that therapy, not jail time, can help many veterans dealing with the trauma of war.
Many studies have shown that PTSD and other combat-related mental health issues make veterans more susceptive to drug and alcohol addiction. Courts around the U.S. should pay attention to this new trend that is trying to provide services to veterans who suffer from trauma and other issues once they've returned from war. "As our soldiers come back with needs," Crowder states, "some of them are met, some of them are not." "Those whose needs aren't met can end up in the criminal system," he adds.
Don't get to thinking that these vets are taking an easier route, however. Crowder explains that this voluntary court requires veterans to go "through much tougher programs, with much longer treatments and much more work for the veterans."
The court has been made possible through a five year grant provided by the state of Colorado. Crowder hopes that other counties might be able to create similar courts that cater to the specific needs/circumstances of military veterans.
Many veterans are either denied benefits that help them get access to treatment, or are reluctant to seek help. If you are having trouble with a veterans benefits claim, contact us.
Read more about this innovative court below.