A recent article by Dr. Rachel Wood talked about Thurston County agencies that help veterans settle in our county. Kudos to all the organization that are serving those who served.
One organization was missed. The Thurston County Veterans Court provide by District Court under the leadership of Judge Brett Buckley has been serving veterans for over six years. It was one of the first in the Pacific Northwest.
Veterans Court is a problem solving court that is intended to serve veterans charged with a crime who are struggling with serious mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders. The court promotes sobriety, recovery and stability through a coordinated response that involves collaboration with the traditional partners found in problem solving courts – as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care networks, the Veterans Benefits Administration, Washington state Department of Veterans Affairs, and veterans and veterans’ family support organizations.
Using the benefit-cost model developed by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP), estimated societal cost savings for Mental Health Court/Veterans Court were about $1.3 million in 2013 and about $5.9 million since 2010. Societal cost savings include decreased costs of crime for taxpayers and others.
The treatment sales tax provides just under $350,000 to provide these services and the courts are achieving high success with low recidivism rates. Over 63 percent of participants graduate and veterans are getting employed and families are reunited. Fantastic!