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Veterans Treatment Courts: An Experiment in Therapeutic Jurisprudence for Combat Veterans

1 January 2013


Combat veterans face significant obstacles upon their return home. The damage inflicted by combat duty can leave a veteran scarred and suffering from many mental health challenges, including PTSD, TBI, substance abuse, and depression—among others. Officials in the criminal justice system have noticed an increase in veteran arrests since the onset of the U.S. War on Terror. In the year 2011—in San Francisco County, CA alone—the county jail booked in an average of 97 veterans a day. Responding to this rising problem, a growing number of counties in the U.S. have begun developing Veteran Treatment Courts as a diversion program for combat veterans who have committed their first criminal offense. These programs are designed to hold veterans responsible for their criminal actions, while providing specialized services that acknowledge their service and the challenges they face as returning veterans. This Senior Capstone project examines the history, model, and evaluation of Veterans Treatment Courts and proposes the establishment of one in Washington County, Oregon.


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