The Veteran’s Treatment Court is for individuals who served in the armed forces. This therapeutic court serves veterans with criminal charges and a service-connected disability. Veterans also have to meet the requirements of eligibility as a candidate per RCW 2.30.030. Veteran’s Treatment Court serves Lakewood, Steilacoom, and DuPont.
About Veteran’s Treatment Court
Veteran’s court is an optional 12-24 month program, depending on the circumstances. During the course of the program, Veterans must adhere to a strict schedule. This includes regular urinalysis testing, court check-ins, and attendance at support groups. Participants must also meet with a probation officer weekly. If a participant meets these conditions, charges may be dismissed.
Veteran’s court is held Wednesdays at 2 p.m. at Lakewood City Hall. Dates vary each month based on other court calendars. Veteran’s court can be as often as bi-weekly and each veteran on the calendar is expected to stay for the entire calendar. This way veterans hear what is going on with fellow veterans and they can offer support in situations they may have also experienced.
Across the country, Veterans Courts have proven to reduce reoffenses and change the lives of participants. Through the program, participants do volunteer work within the community. By doing volunteer work, veteran participants make new connections within the community. These connections help to build a bond between the veteran participant and the community.
The Lakewood Veteran’s Treatment Court works in collaboration with many organizations, including:
- Lakewood Municipal Court
- The Veteran’s Administration (VA)
- Defense Counsel
- The Lakewood Prosecutor’s Office
Working with these agencies provides an option for veterans to get the treatment they need. This includes treatment intervention rather than incarceration.
Mission and Goals
The mission of the Veteran’s Treatment Court is to work collaboratively with community partners and resources to help veterans reintegrate into our community more effectively by connecting them with the services they have earned.
- Increase community/public safety and awareness.
- Reduce participant contact with the criminal justice system.
- Reduce costs associated with the criminal case processing and re-arrest.
- Help participants become stable, substance-free, and employed.
How to Join
If you are a veteran who meets the criteria and would like to get additional information please contact your attorney.
You must also connect with the local Veterans Justice Outreach Coordinator at American Lake. This is to establish eligibility for VA services.
The process starts with a defense attorney advising the court that they would like to pursue Veterans court. Once the court is made aware, the prosecutor gives tentative approval. A risk assessment and pre-sentence interview are then conducted. Once all requirements are met, the court requires any potential participants to watch Veteran’s court prior to entry.
If you have a client who is interested in veteran’s court, please note that once they have entered the Veteran’s Court Contract the Veteran’s Court Defense Attorney, employed by the public defenders’ office, is available to appear with the client at all mandatory monthly court appearances.
For additional information please contact Horwath Law at (253) 426-1784 or [email protected]