Ft. Cavazos Veterans Endeavor for Treatment and Support (VETS) Court Program
The Ft. Cavazos U.S. Army post recently welcomed special guest U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to witness the graduation of the first three participants in the Veterans Endeavor for Treatment and Support (VETS) Court, an alternative-to-prosecution program.
The VETS Court program diverts veterans who have committed low-level criminal offenses out of the traditional criminal justice system and into a program of intensive supervision, treatment, and monitoring. To be eligible for the program, veterans must have a mental health issue that relates both to the veteran’s military service and to the charged criminal offense. The program then seeks to address the root causes of the criminal conduct by treating the underlying mental health issue, supporting the veteran through community supervision and mentorship, and building connections to the VA Healthcare system and Texas Veterans Commission that will endure beyond participation in the VETS Court program.
Each veteran must complete a rigorous program of court supervision, treatment and counseling with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and mentorship from a community veteran mentor. As a result of a successful program completion, the charges filed against each of these veterans will be dismissed.
The Fort Cavazos VETS was launched in January 2016 by Federal Magistrate Judge Jeffrey C. Manske with support from the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, Richard L. Durbin, Jr., U.S. Probation and U.S. Pretrial Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Fort Cavazos military community.
In addition to the three graduates, eight additional veterans are currently in VETS with new applications being reviewed on a biweekly basis.