DearColleague.us

Letter

Sending Office: Brownley (CA), Julia
Sent By:
David.Schutt@mail.house.gov

        Request for Signature(s)

Support FY21 Funding for Veterans Treatment Courts

DEADLINE: Friday, March 6th, 2020

FY2020 Cosigners: Adams, Bass, Beatty, Bera, Bernice-Johnson, Beyer, Boyle, Brindisi, Brown, Bustos, Butterfield, Carbajal, Cárdenas, Carson, Castor, Chu, Cisneros, Cleaver, Cohen, Connolly, Davis (CA), Dean, DeFazio, Demings, DeSaulnier,
Deutch, Dingell, Gabbard, Gallego, Gonzalez (TX), Hastings, Higgins (NY), Johnson (OH), Johnson (GA), Keating, Khanna, Kim, Kuster, Lamb, Langevin, Lawson, Lee (CA), Lieu, Lipinski, Loebsack, Lujan, Lynch, S.P. Maloney, McBath, McGovern, Moulton,
Mucarsel-Powell, Napolitano, Norcross, Norton, O’Halleran, Panetta, Pappas, Payne, Peters, Pingree, Raskin, Rice, Rush, Sablan, Sánchez, Schakowsky, Scott (VA), Sewell, Sires, Smith (WA), Soto, Takano, Thompson (CA), Vargas

 

Dear Colleague,

As you review FY2021 appropriations requests, I urge you to sign my letter to the House Appropriations Committee supporting funding for Veterans Treatment Courts. 

Over 400 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 David Schutt (david.schutt@mail.house.gov) on my staff if you have any questions or would like to sign the letter.

Sincerely,

Julia Brownley

Member of Congress

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LETTER:

Dear Chairman Serrano and Ranking Member Aderholt:

As you develop the Fiscal Year 2021 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 involved veterans, Veterans Treatment Courts have assisted these justice-involved veterans with the resources they need to help them secure a strong future and to begin their journey towards recovery.

After nearly two decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of our nation’s heroes are returning home with the invisible wounds that come with multiple deployments and military service to our nation, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic
Brain Injury. In a study of 60,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 13.5% of deployed and nondeployed veterans screened positive for PTSD. Additional studies show the rate to be as high as 20% to 30%. Many of these veterans end up being incarcerated in our justice
system, instead of receiving the care and support they need to overcome mental health challenges or drug addiction. In fact, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, roughly 180,000 people incarcerated in the United States are veterans.

Veterans Treatment Courts 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 400 Veterans Treatment Courts have been established across country. These specialized courts have proven to 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. Veterans Treatment Courts offer long-term solutions rather than a short-term
focus on punishment by keeping veterans out of prisons and focusing on rehabilitation and sobriety.

We respectfully urge your continued support for the appropriations necessary to meet the needs of justice-involved veterans. For FY2020, Congress appropriated $23 million for Veterans Treatment Courts, though the House-passed Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations
bill would have provided $25 million. We strongly support this program and urge the Committee to provide the highest possible level of funding.

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Appropriations, Judiciary, Veterans

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