Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives approved an amendment offered by Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) to the FY2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Act (H.R. 2578) to increase funding for veterans treatment courts by $2.5 million (50 percent).
According to the National Center for PTSD, about 11-20% of veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have PTSD in a given year. Since 2005, the number of veterans diagnosed with PTSD has doubled.
“Too often, instead of receiving the mental health services and support that they need, a growing number of veterans end up being incarcerated in our justice system,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “My amendment would provide increased funds for veterans treatment courts so that more veterans in trouble can get the resources they need to secure a strong future and to begin their journey towards recovery.”
Since the Veterans Treatment Court program began in 2008 in Buffalo, New York, over 220 veteran treatment courts have been established across the United States. The Ventura County Veterans Treatment Court, which began as a pilot program in November 2010, is designed to give veterans with mental health and substance abuse issues who find themselves in trouble with the law an opportunity to get the help they need, as an alternative to jail time. Veterans who choose to participate in the veterans treatment court program must agree to enter a guilty plea and make regular court appearances, participate in treatment and counseling sessions, and undergo regular substance abuse testing.
Watch Congresswoman Brownley’s remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqI227bngjI