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Date Submitted January 10, 2022
Submitted By Tracy A. Stephens
I am a Veteran and a Veteran Advocate. Since September 2019 I have been a Volunteer Veteran Mentor with the Calhoun County Veterans Treatment Court in Anniston, AL. I have found this to be a very worthwhile program for justice-involved Veterans. I have seen lives positively changed and even some saved. I would like to see a Veterans Treatment Court available in all 67 Counties in Alabama. According to the website of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs it states that if there is not a Veterans Treatment Court available in the jurisdiction that a Veteran is in then they may request the Court to transfer their case to a nearby Court that does have one but both Courts must agree to the transfer.
This is why the Veterans Treatment Court Program needs to be expanded in Alabama. As of July 2019, there were 28 active Veterans Treatment Courts and another 8 that are combined with a Drug Court. However, it was recently announced that one had started in Talladega County and I am aware of the interest in starting one in Clay County. I am currently on a Team that consist of Political Leaders, at least one Federal and one state Agency along with multiple nonprofits that supports the Veteran Community in Alabama that are working together in the hopes of helping create more Veterans Treatment Court in Alabama. We are also developing a plan to help better identify those justice-involved Veterans. Through contact with a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran Justice Outreach Specialists we learned about the Veterans Reentry Search Services website. This service enables correctional and other criminal justice system entities to identify inmates or defendants who have served in the U.S. military. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs makes this service available to facilitate its own direct outreach to these veterans, and to inform the development of veteran-specific programs in the criminal justice system.
Please contact your Elected Officials, Circuit Court Judges, District Attorneys, Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs County Veteran Service Officers to help see that the Veterans Treatment Court Program is expanded across the state of Alabama.
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