Alternatives to Criminalization for Veterans

To end homelessness, we must reduce the number of people who enter the criminal justice system from homelessness and prevent homelessness among people leaving criminal justice settings. USICH would like to spotlight the work of our partners at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and their continued support to communities across the country.

Veteran-focused Courts

In June 2020, the VA released a fact sheet on Veterans Treatment Courts and other Veteran-focused courts served by the VA Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Specialists. 

Veterans Treatment Courts are an alternative to the traditional criminal justice system that emphasize treatment for mental health and substance use disorders rather than punishment and incarceration. This short video describes the characteristics of Veterans Treatment Courts and the Veterans they serve.

Reentry Planning and Services

It is critical that communities across the country continue to strengthen reentry programming, including improving coordination with homelessness services and supporting targeted housing and services interventions for people leaving criminal justice settings who are at risk of homelessness. The VJO Program also provides in-reach for incarcerated Veterans to help put them on a path to stable housing.

Resources

Communities interested in learning more about these alternatives to criminalization may contact national coordinator Katie Stewart for questions about the VJO program.

If you know a justice-involved Veteran, email the VJO specialist nearest you for assistance accessing VA health care services.

Visit the Justice for Vets site to learn more about Veterans Treatment Courts.

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