Craighead County Veterans Treatment Court has grown since inception

Craighead County Veterans Treatment Court has grown since inception

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - One Craighead County organization wants to go beyond honoring our nation's veterans by helping them.

"As much as we owe to our veterans that served our country, this is a small sacrifice that we make having this program available to them," Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd said.

For many veterans, the fighting doesn't end when they come home from war, it just shifts to a new battle; reintegrating into civilian life.
Sheriff Boyd explained that oftentimes, veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder turn to drugs or alcohol. He said it's a coping mechanism that can take a dark turn.

"Of course, it leads to domestic violence and then it leads into more crime like that," Sheriff Boyd said.

That's one reason the Craighead County Sheriff's Department started up a Veteran's Treatment Court.

Sheriff Boyd said since the program started up a few months ago, the completely volunteer-based treatment court has expanded.

There are now ten veterans and seven mentors involved in the program.
The non-profit organization Justice For Vets recently released data showing that the number of treatment courts in the U.S. has surged in recent years. According to Justice For Vets, there were 28% more treatment courts between 2013 and 2014 and even more are in the planning stages.

According to Justice For Vets, those courts are helping keep an estimated 13,000 veterans out of jail.
"If we don't see that person return through the justice system, through the jail, it's been a success," Sheriff Boyd said. "It's proven fact that if we can save one person, it means thousands of dollars to taxpayers that are not in the justice system, not paying jail costs and fees and court costs."

Sheriff Boyd said the program is rigorous though. It takes a veteran approximately two years to complete.
In the end though, similar to drug courts, the goal of the Veterans Treatment Court is to get people back to being the person they want to be.

For more information on Veterans Treatment Courts nationwide, visit Justice For Vets website.

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