(SPANISH FORT, Ala.) Aug. 18, 2017 – In June, the Baldwin County Veterans Court congratulated their 5th graduating class and Truland Homes CEO Nathan Cox, a Marine Combat veteran, spoke of the program and it’s benefits. The Baldwin County Veterans Court trains veterans like Nathan to work with veterans who have suffered from “Wounds of War” and found themselves in the criminal justice system.
As said by Nathan at the graduation ceremony, “Wounds of War” contribute significantly to a Veteran’s inability to maintain employment and suitable housing, destroy families and have led to the highest rate of suicide among Veterans in recorded history. Veteran’s Treatment Courts seek to end this cycle, and restore these Veterans to the place of honor in the community that they deserve.
A Veterans Court is a specialized criminal docket for Veterans with co-occurring disorders, such as PTSD, physical injuries including traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, substance dependency and/or mental health issues related to their service to our country. It is a hybrid drug and mental health court designed to suit the veteran’s individual treatment needs, but yet requires personal accountability. In our court we taken an innovative approach to criminal action, where treatment and rehabilitation replaces incarceration and punishment.
The program term is a minimum of one year, during which participants attend and complete treatment. They are routinely drug tested, attend court regularly to review progress and are held accountable for non-compliant behavior. Participants progress in phases from close supervision to increased self-monitoring, and graduation is held upon successful completion of treatment and demonstrated compliance.
Throughout the program, mentors, which are trained veterans themselves, stand by participating veterans to provide accountability, support and even attend hearings. The programs place a high focus on “team” activities and environments that encourage veterans not only to be accountable for themselves but for others as well.
Nationally, Veterans Courts can boast a success rate much higher than other therapeutic courts – over 90% nationwide – and this increased success is attributed to one thing that is unique to all Veterans’ Courts – a mentor program. A mentor is a man or woman who has served our country and who donates his or her time to help a veteran in our program. Mentors are typically asked to commit to a one-year term when they volunteer so that they can help a participant through to graduation. Many, if not most, continue to work as a mentor long after their year is up. A team approach along with the concept of mentoring is responsible for the great success rate that Veteran’s Courts have around this nation and in Baldwin County.
Nathan Cox participates with many military focused projects like this around Baldwin County. In 2015, after years of fundraising, Nathan proudly announced the Fallen Heroes Memorial Dedication at Battleship Park in Mobile with Commissioner Dr. Barry Booth.
For more information about the Baldwin County Veterans Court, please visit baldwincountyveteranscourt.com