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Services & Information / Collaborative Courts
There are currently 21 Veterans' Courts operating in California. The program was created in response to thousands of mentally ill and addicted veterans going through lifetime cycles of crime, arrest, court proceedings, incarceration, release and more crime. With approximately 2 million veterans returning home, it is likely many will end up in the criminal justice system.
The Sacramento County VTC is a culmination of a two year collaborative organizing and planning effort between the District Attorney's Office, the Sacramento Superior Court,the Public Defender's Office, the Probation Department, the Sacramento County Veteran's Service Office, and the California Veterans Legal Task Force.
The VTC is designed to enable convicted felons and misdemeanants who suffer from qualifying disorders due to military service, with priority being given to those resulting from combat, to receive alternative sentencing, comprehensive monitored rehabilitative services and mental health treatment in lieu of other traditional sentencing options pursuant to Penal Code section 1170.9, which requires a nexus between the issues that have caused the veteran to intersect with the criminal justice system and their military service.
Participants in the program will be placed on formal probation and are required to make regular court appearances. They must agree to participate in the VTC for 12 to 18 month and undergo a treatment program designed and provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Treatment services will include inpatient treatment as well as outpatient group counseling, drug and alcohol testing, mental health treatment and regular attendance at support and self-help meetings. They will be assigned a mentor who will serve as a coach, advocate and source of support. Ongoing aftercare services will be available to all participants who graduate.
2014 Veterans' Court Graduation - (L-R) Public Defender Scott Franklin, Veteran Justice Outreach Specialist Leah Norzagaray, the Honorable David Abbott, Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Robin Shakely, Deputy District Attorney Chris Carlson, former District Attorney Jan Scully