Sending Office: Honorable Julia Brownley
Sent By:
Gavin.Ross@mail.house.gov

SUPPORT FY19 FUNDING FOR VETERANS TREATMENT COURTS

Current Cosigners: Gallego, Vargas, Norton, Connolly, Sinema, Lujan Grisham, Moulton, Lynch, Hastings, Capuano, Jackson Lee, DeFazio, Beatty, Walz,
Comstock, Lawson, Mike Thompson, Bordallo, DeSaulnier, Heck, Cohen, Bobby Scott, McGovern, Rush, Crist, Brown, Langevin, S.P. Maloney, Sánchez, Peters, Lipinski, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Susan Davis, DeGette, Schakowsky, Demings, Lieu, Sires, Peterson,
Espaillat, O’Rourke, Kihuen, Loebsack, Clarke, Neal, Delaney, Kuster, Shea-Porter, Pingree, Vela, Napolitano, Frankel, Rosen, Butterfield, Raskin, Dingell, Rice, Eshoo,
Bill Johnson, Swalwell, Deutch, Robert A. Brady, Castor, Adams, Bera, Gottheimer, Sewell, Keating

Cosigners in FY18 (62): Walz, Sinema, Kuster, Sires, Titus, Rush, Thompson, Bustos, Cohen, DeFazio,
Walter B. Jones, Lynch, Beatty, Pingree, O’Halleran, Sheila Jackson Lee, Gallego, Rice, Frankel, Cárdenas, O’Rourke, Langevin, Delaney, Loebsack, Adam Smith, Keating, Eshoo, Butterfield, Connolly,
Bill Johnson, Hastings, Lujan, Comstock, McGovern, Heck, Dingell,
Gosar, Sanchez, Barr, Swalwell, Larsen, Moulton, Carson, DeSaulnier, Peters, Chu, Scott, Demings, Khanna, Norton, Levin, Shea-Porter, Lujan Grisham, Raskin, González, Vargas, DeGette, Blumenauer, Bordallo, Bishop Jr., Rosen

DEADLINE: Tuesday, March 18th @ 12:00pm.

Dear Colleague,

As you review FY2019 appropriations requests, I urge you to sign my letter to the House Appropriations Committee supporting funding for Veterans Treatment Courts. 

Over 300 Veterans Treatment Courts have been established in the United States since 2008, and this popular program is growing every year. As you may know, Veterans Treatment Courts provide veterans with substance abuse issues an alternative to incarceration
by allowing them to seek mental health services and rehabilitative care instead of being jailed for non-violent, minor drug-related crimes. Veterans Treatment Courts have a veteran-only docket, and court staff works closely with local VA medical and benefits
staff to coordinate services for veterans who have agreed to participate. Veterans in the program are paired with veteran mentors and agree to mandatory substance abuse counseling, random drug testing, and regular court appearances.

I have attended several Veteran Treatment Court graduation ceremonies in my Congressional district. For veterans struggling to reintegrate into civilian life, the extra support and second chance offered by a Veteran Treatment Court can turn their lives around
and eliminate the risk of recidivism. Please email Gavin Ross (gavin.ross@mail.house.gov) on my staff if you have any questions, or would like to sign the letter.

The deadline to sign on is COB Monday, March 12th.

Sincerely,

Julia Brownley

Member of Congress

 

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LETTER:

Dear Chairman Culberson and Ranking Member Serrano:

As you develop the Fiscal Year 2019 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill, we write to express our continued support for Veterans Treatment Courts. We are dedicated to serving the needs of our nation’s veterans, including those struggling with addiction
and the invisible wounds of war. For many of these justice-involved veterans, Veterans Treatment Courts provide the resources they need to secure a strong future and begin their journey towards recovery.

After nearly two decades of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, our nation’s heroes are returning home with the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and related ailments. Research continues to draw a link between
substance abuse and combat–related mental health struggles, and it is estimated that between 10% and 20% of soldiers deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from combat-related PTSD, TBI, clinical depression, or a substance use disorder. Instead of receiving
the care and support they need to overcome mental health challenges or drug addiction, numerous veterans end up involved in our justice system. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, roughly 180,000 people incarcerated in the United States are veterans.

Veterans Treatment Courts are designed to provide an alternative path for veterans with substance abuse and mental health issues who find themselves in trouble with the law. These courts afford veterans with the opportunity to get the help they need while
avoiding jail time. Since the first Veteran Treatment Court began in 2008 in Buffalo, New York, over 300 Veterans Treatment Courts have been established across the country, with many more being planned. Studies have shown that specialized drug courts can lead
to lower incarceration and recidivism rates. In fact, a five year study from the National Institute of Justice found that drug court participants were significantly less likely than nonparticipants to relapse or later commit criminal acts. By keeping veterans
out of prisons and focusing on rehabilitation and sobriety, these programs offer long-term solutions rather than a short-term focus on punishment.

We respectfully urge your continued support for the appropriations necessary to meet the needs of justice-involved veterans. The House provided $10 million for Veterans Treatment Courts in Fiscal Year 2018. We strongly support this program, and urge the
Committee to provide the highest possible level of funding.

Sincerely, 

Members of Congress

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Judiciary, Veterans

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