SUPPORTING VETS THROUGH VETERAN'S TREATMENT COURTS
I was recently privileged to attend the graduation of eight men from the Santa Maria Veteran's Treatment Court. Veteran's Treatment Courts, which are in 20 counties, including Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, are serving veterans suffering from conditions resulting from combat which are at the root of the behaviors that have brought them into the criminal justice system.
As the result of a groundbreaking law passed in 2006, judges can steer veterans, who are facing conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse issues, through a rigorous treatment process in lieu of jail time. Veterans who are accused of committing serious crimes are not eligible. In exchange for completing a 12-18 month process, they can earn a sentence reduction and, in some cases, a dismissal of criminal charges. These treatment courts have shown remarkable success in stopping crime in its tracks and restoring its graduates to lives of meaningful participation in society.
Just this year, I authored a bill that was signed into law to ensure that defendants are notified that if they are current or former members of the military, they may be eligible for Veteran's Treatment Courts.
Being able to continue the success of Veterans Treatment Courts won't be possible unless we remain committed to them. I believe adequately funding our courts needs to be a budget priority.
On this Veterans Day, we remember that committing to our veterans' well-being is a commitment to the safety and health of our community.
SEEING THE SIGNS: If you've travelled down Highway 101 in Ventura County in the past week, you may have noticed two new "Purple Heart Trail" signs.
These signs are a community effort. Last year, I authored a resolution designating this portion of Highway 101 for inclusion in the National Purple Heart Trail. I am grateful for the efforts of Ventura County and the Military Order of the Purple Heart, who helped make these signs a reality.
As always, please stay in touch. You can communicate with me by email, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson
State Senator, 19th Senate District