2020 News Releases

AG Schmidt applauds signing of Veterans Treatment Court Coordination Act

Release Date: Aug 11, 2020

TOPEKA – (August 11, 2020) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says a new law funding Veterans Treatment Courts will give states an additional tool to help reintegrate veterans returning home from military service into their local communities.

The Veteran Treatment Coordination Act of 2019, a bipartisan measure that establishes a Veterans Treatment Court Program within the U.S. Department of Justice, was signed into law by the president on Saturday. The new law will provide grants and technical assistance to state, local and tribal courts to implement veterans treatment courts. Last November, Schmidt joined 43 other state and territorial attorneys general in urging its passage.

“This new federal support will help states identify and support veterans who otherwise may get lost in the court system for minor offenses,” Schmidt said. “We owe it to veterans who are suffering from a service or combat related injury, mental health issue or substance abuse to provide medical treatment and therapy to help prevent a cycle of recidivism, non-recovery, or serious injury or death.”

Veterans Treatment Courts are diversionary court processes, similar to drug and mental health courts, used for minor, non-violent offenses. These courts pair veterans with mentors to address substance abuse and mental health issues and assist with obtaining veterans benefits to help with treatment and employment.

The Johnson County Veterans Treatment Court Program was launched in 2016 as the first Veterans Treatment Court in Kansas. There are currently more than 450 Veterans Treatment Courts in 40 states and territories.

The attorneys general noted in their letter that more than 16 veterans a day commit suicide, and in 2017 the suicide rate for veterans was 1.5 times the rate for non-veteran adults. Since September 11, 2001, more than 3.3 million Americans have voluntarily served in the armed forces.

A copy of the letter is available at https://bit.ly/2rFhmKb.

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.