Veterans Court is a viable and appropriate alternative to incarceration for certain criminal defendants. Decisions will be made objectively and balanced with the mission to keep the community safe. The Veterans Court Program has established eligibility requirements based on the target population and in accordance with current federal and Louisiana Statutes.
Reduce recidivism of veterans with substance abuse and/or mental health issues who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The court is used as a therapeutic agent to improve the quality of lives within the community. By holding defendants accountable and helping them to achieve long-term stability, participants become law abiding citizens and successful family and community members.
Veterans Court is voluntary, Though included as a condition of probation. Benefits of successful completion may include reduction in the term of probation, dismissal of criminal charges, and reduced or suspended incarceration.
- Adherence to scheduled sessions, meetings, and appointments made by the providers
- Medication Adherence
- Compliance with Drug and Alcohol testing
- Attendance at regular court appearances
General Program Requirements Include:
Referral and Eligibility
Defendants may apply to Veterans Court at any time prior to sentencing. In addition, and otherwise eligible probationer who becomes subject to an application to accelerate or revoke may be admitted to Veterans Court. All admissions to the Veterans Court program will be decided upon a case by case basis, taking into consideration all pertinent facts, evidence, law and offender circumstances
- Evidence of a serious substance abuse and/or mental health issue (as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.)
- Defendant has been convicted and sentenced (post-adjudication) and is eligible for probation (misdemeanor or felony). Individuals charged with murder or sex offenses are not eligible.
- A mental health or substance abuse issue was likely a factor in the offense.
- Defendant’s mental health or substance abuse issue has seriously impacted quality of life and without added conditions of the court is likely to become non-compliant.
- Willing and amenable to treatment and the recommendations of the treatment provider.
- Has the mental and cognitive capacity to handle the structure of BHC.
- Has a valid home address in St. Tammany parish. If defendant lives in Washington Parish, he/she must have reliable transportation to attend status hearings.
- Willing to sign releases of information to all necessary treatment providers and collaborators.
- Agree to refrain from alcohol and drug use (other than approved medications).
- Submit to random drug testing.
General Eligibility Includes:
Participants are assigned a case manager once the defendant has been assessed as eligible for the program. The participant is oriented to the Veterans Court program and an individualized case plan is developed. The case manager will help the participant connect with appropriate treatment resources and communicate regularly with the participant’s provider. Linkages to other services and resources are provided as needed such as transportation, self-help meetings, peer support services, and housing. Monitoring by the case manager includes overseeing compliance with required activities such as drug screens and attendance at treatment appointments. The case manager is responsible for collecting and reporting information to the court at weekly staffings held prior the status hearings.
Veterans Court Team
- District Judge
- Administrator/Program Coordinator
- Case Managers
- State Probation And Parole
- 22nd JDC Misdemeanor Probation
- Treatment Providers
- Act Team
- District Forensic Coordinator
- District Attorney’s Office
- Public Defender’s Office
- Community Liaisons/Ancillary Services
- NAMI St. Tammany
- Education Specialist
- Clerk Of Court
Presiding Judge Raymond Childress
“The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”