ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WOWO): Tuesday afternoon, the following announcement was released the Allen County Board of Commissioners:
The Honorable Thomas J. Felts of the Allen Circuit Court and the Honorable Frances C. Gull of the Allen Superior Court, Criminal Division today announced the establishment of the Joint Veterans Treatment Court for Allen County, believed to the be the first of its kind in the state of Indiana. This joint effort is to help criminal justice-involved veterans suffering from substance abuse or mental health disorders with the benefits and treatment they have earned as members of the military.
Judge Gull, who runs the Drug Court Intervention Program, said, “It is truly an honor to be in partnership with Judge Felts in working with this special group of heroes. Drug Court and Judge Felts’ Restoration Court Program have seen an increase in the numbers of veterans coming into our programs; combining our resources and better utilizing the community services available is a great way to offer these veterans the help they deserve.”
“We have come to realize that all veterans, especially those most recently in service, come into our courts with special problems and needs,” added Judge Felts. “Collaborating with Judge Gull’s Drug Court enables us to work together to most effectively respond to and meet those problems and needs in furtherance of public safety and reduced recidivism.”
Like over 100 operational Veterans Treatment Courts in the United States, the Allen County Joint Veterans Treatment Court consists of judicially-supervised court dockets that reduce correctional costs, protects community safety, and improves public welfare. Veterans Treatment Courts combine rigorous treatment and accountability for veterans facing incarceration due to charges stemming from substance abuse or mental health issues. They promote sobriety, recovery and stability through a coordinated response and the understanding that the bonds of military service and combat run deep.
Veterans Treatment Courts not only allow veterans to go through the treatment court process with other veterans who are similarly situated and have common past experiences, but links them with Veterans Affairs services uniquely designed for the distinct needs that arise from that experience. The Court will expedite access to veteran-specific resources, including benefits and treatment earned through military service, by involving the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care networks, the Veterans Benefits Administration, volunteer veteran mentors, and veterans and veterans family support organizations.
The Courts have reached out to many community partners, including the Veterans Administration, Veterans Justice Outreach, the Vet Center, Allen County Veterans Services, the Associated Churches, Family Assistance Specialists with the Indiana National Guard. The judges have been delighted with the outpouring of support from these community partners, and are pleased to begin this joint initiative with them.