Bloomberg News Highlights Veterans Treatment Courts

Army Ranger Mike Jones with Judge Wendley Lindley in the Orange County Combat Veterans Court.Recently, Bloomberg News ran an article profiling two combat veterans whose struggles after returning home were marked by two very different criminal justice responses. Mike Jones and James Sosh both served in Iraq. Both struggled after they came home in 2009. Jones was dealing with the physical and emotional pain of losing his leg. Sosh couldn’t find work and had difficulty coping with his PTSD diagnoses. Today, Mike Jones is healthy thanks to the services he received in the Orange County Combat Veterans Court. Sosh is once again separated from his wife and kids, serving 20 years with 10 suspended for a drug-related offense. There is no Veterans Treatment Court in his hometown of Huntington County, Indiana.

“Their diverging fates show how some states’ justice systems struggle to accommodate damaged troops,” the article states. “After more than a decade of war in two theaters, 120 veterans courts operate in 35 states, with 100 in the planning stages, according to the nonprofit Justice for Vets in Alexandria, Virginia. The first was established in Buffalo, New York, in 2008.”

“The Veterans Treatment Court movement continues to expand to meet the need of our returning men and women, but as this story demonstrates, we have a long way to go,” said Justice For Vets Director Matt Stiner. “For every Mike Jones, there are many more cases like James Sosh’s. This is unacceptable and we must continue to fight every day to put these programs in reach of every veteran in need.”

Click here to read the full story.

Exclusive Bloomberg News video of Justice For Vets Director Matt Stiner discussing the establishment of the Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court.