Legislators Visit Veterans Treatment Court in Dedham
The Norfolk County Veterans Treatment Court is a successful voluntary 12-24 month program intended to serve veterans who are struggling with addiction, mental health issues and or/co-concurring disorders.
Editor's Note: The following is a press release from State Senator Mike Rush's office
On Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 a group of state legislators and officials visited the Norfolk County Veterans Treatment Court in Dedham to witness firsthand the court supervised program for defendants who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
The Norfolk County Veterans Treatment Court is a successful voluntary 12-24 month program intended to serve veterans who are struggling with addiction, mental health issues and or/co-concurring disorders. The program involves ongoing judicial and probation supervision with an input from a multidisciplinary team of professionals. The Court promotes sobriety, recovery and stability through a collaboration with VA and community based treatment providers. In addition, all participants are matched with a veteran peer mentor who will act as an advocate, mentor, and ally.
“This support that is given to our veterans through a coordinated effort is a wonderful model as we look towards implementing similar programs throughout the state,” said State Senator Mike Rush (Chairman, Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs). "Judge Mary Hogan Sullivan, District Attorney Morrissey, and their staffs provide treatment options on a case by case basis to those who have served this country so admirably. The team of professionals does not give special treatment to these defendants, rather they develop a five- phase program for defendants to complete which involves strict sanctions for non-adherence.”
“The Veterans Court gives special recognition to members of our Armed Services who often return to the very country they defended and get caught up in our system of justice due to untreated or undiagnosed mental health issues,” said Rogers. “The court encourages rehabilitation over incarceration a redeeming principle that also saves precious tax dollars.”
Rogers, who is a former chairman of the House-Senate Committee on the Judiciary, said, "I applaud our District Attorney Mike Morrissey and First Justice Hogan Sullivan for their commitment to this program and to our Veterans. How we, as a Commonwealth, treat our Veterans, who have selflessly and courageously served our country, defines who we are as a society.”
“The Veterans Court is an expression by us Americans to our Veterans that we are grateful for their past deeds for our nation and that we are intent on helping them lead safe, happy and prosperous lives back home,” Rogers said.
The Legislature recently passed into law the “VALOR Act” which provided provisions for a statewide court diversion program. The purpose of this visit was to discuss veteran court related issues with professionals who have successfully implemented a volunteer veterans’ court program on their own. By witnessing a successful program that has already been implemented, state policymakers will have the opportunity to adopt best practices and procedures to expand on this recent law.
Members of the Legislatures’ Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, the Attorney General’s Office, and Adjutant General Scott Rice were in attendance.