Honoring the El Paso Veterans’ Treatment Courtby Representative Beto O'Rourke
Posted on 2015-12-10
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Mr. O'ROURKE. Mr. Speaker, I am honored to rise today in recognition
of the El Paso Veterans' Treatment Court Program, presided over by the
Honorable Angie Juarez Barill and operating out of the 346th District
Court of El Paso, Texas. I am pleased to recognize the El Paso
Veterans' Treatment Court Program as an initiative that works hard to
``leave no veteran behind and honor their service.''
As the second program of its kind in the state of Texas, the El Paso
Veterans' Treatment Court Program has provided resources to numerous
Veterans in the criminal justice system. Since 2009, the initiative has
aided eligible Veterans and active duty Service Members who are charged
with misdemeanor criminal offenses; in 2012 the program was expanded to
include felony criminal offenses. The participants are diverted from
the traditional criminal justice system and are assessed for substance
abuse and mental health issues. Upon meeting program entrance
requirements, participants receive an individualized treatment plan and
attend frequent review hearings before the program judge.
In addition to providing comprehensive substance abuse and mental health treatment, the five phase program also includes officials from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to determine the Veteran participants' eligibility for further aid. The Veterans Benefits Administration assesses the Veteran for disability compensation, education benefits, and vocational rehabilitation qualifications. The Veterans Health Administration also assesses the Veteran to determine eligibility for housing and medical services. The program operates on a personal level as well, in order to address employment opportunities and individual needs.
The El Paso Veterans' Treatment Court Program provides an alternative route for Veterans and active duty Service Members in the criminal justice system. The initiative practices a holistic approach, providing resources, addressing treatment concerns and engaging in judicial monitoring. These necessary tools help participants engage in society as law-abiding citizens. The initiative has been widely successful in El Paso and recently received the prestigious Texas Veterans Commission Patriot Award in recognition of their diligence. I am proud that programs such as the El Paso Veterans' Treatment Court exist in my district and are available to help those who served our country.