After the Vietnam War, many veterans returned home only to struggle to adapt to civilian life. Some turned to alcohol and drugs to cope, mental health issues went untreated, and they found themselves in trouble with the law. Following the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Minnesota began seeing a similar trend, and worked to stop the cycle from beginning again. The Anoka County Veterans Treatment Court is one answer to this problem.
Once it has been determined that a veteran is eligible for Veteran's Court, the following steps are taken:
The veteran must plead guilty to the offense.
The veteran is then placed under probation supervision and offered services that address problems, including: chemical dependency, physical and/or mental health care and therapy, peer mentorship, employment services, disability claim assistance, housing assistance and financial counseling.
The veteran appears in court regularly for 18-24 months to provide the judge with an update regarding progress made.
Only certain offenses can be processed through Veterans Court. In addition, a veteran must be VA health care benefits-eligible in order to participate. The goal is to reduce the chance of additional criminal offenses by providing support services to those who have defended our country.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that more than 22,000 veterans live in Anoka County.