The Third Branch
Milwaukee opens Veterans Treatment Initiative
Milwaukee County marked the opening of the new Veterans Treatment Initiative and Treatment Court with a courthouse ceremony on Dec. 5, 2012.
The Veteran's Treatment Initiative (VTI) links justice-involved veterans with evidence-based services to address their needs and divert them where appropriate from the traditional criminal justice system and to provide them with the tools they will need to lead productive and law-abiding lives.
The VTI combines programming provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other veterans organizations with court oversight and accountability all tailored to the risk and needs of the veteran. Successful completion of the program allows the veterans to address their needs and often avoid the stigma and hardship of a criminal conviction and associated penalties.
The VTI is a collaborative effort involving the State Public Defender, Milwaukee County District Attorney, Milwaukee County Circuit Court, VA, Center for Veterans Issues, Dryhootch, Justice 2000, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Milwaukee Police Department and the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Research at the UW-Milwaukee.
In a press release announcing the VTI, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Glenn H. Yamahiro, who presides over the court, said "these collaborative efforts will assist veterans in their struggle to overcome addiction, enhance mental health, and ensure that they successfully access the assistance available to them that they have earned through their service to the country."
Chief Judge Jeffrey A. Kremers, Milwaukee County Circuit Court, said the collaborative team "found a way to acknowledge the special challenges many of our veterans face by linking the benefits of Drug Treatment Court with services available from the VA. It is a small measure of the appreciation we owe our veterans for the service they have provided to our country."
Milwaukee County District Atty. John Chisholm and the head of the State Public Defender's Milwaukee Trial Office, Tom Reed also lauded the new VTI.