State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow’s petition to establish the Veterans Court (Click to view)
The Will County Veterans and Servicemembers Court was the third of four problem-solving courts established by State’s Attorney Glasgow in Will County. Veterans Court has been in operation since 2012 and currently has the capacity to serve 50 active Participants. Veterans Court targets veterans or servicemembers in felony court who have a substance dependence diagnosis, a mental disorder, or mental health issue.
State’s Attorney Glasgow filed a petition before Chief Judge Kinney and Circuit Judge Policandriotes acknowledging the selfless dedication, courage and patriotism that veterans and servicemembers of all eras have exhibited in the service of the United States. The petition asked to establish a specialized Veterans and Servicemembers Court as authorized under Illinois Statute. A copy of the petition is attached below. An order formally establishing the court was written and Veterans Court accepted the application for the first participant.
These actions were the culmination of more than a year of discussion and planning meetings on how to best serve veterans and servicemembers who come in contact with the criminal justice
Veterans Court provides critical treatment, counseling and assistance to local veterans and servicemembers who have struggled with mental health and substance abuse disorders since returning home from military operations.
Veterans Court is a voluntary program, but participation is subject to meeting the eligibility criteria and being staffed and approved for admission into the program by the team. Veterans Court has been built on an extensive history of collaboration among key stakeholders, including the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, Will County, the Will County State’s Attorney, the Will County Public Defender, the Will County Sheriff, the Will County Adult Court Services Department, Center for Correctional Concerns, Edward J Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Veterans’ Justice Outreach Specialist, Veterans Assistance Commission, treatment providers and the community.
The mission of the Veterans and Servicemembers Court movement is to provide veterans or current servicemembers individualized mental health, mental disorder and/or substance abuse treatment through judicial intervention utilizing a collaborative, non-adversarial approach in order to promote public safety, reduce recidivism, and enhance the quality of life for the community and the individual.
The goals and objectives of Veterans Court are to give participants the tools to overcome their addictions, or mental health issues, so that they can prevent further criminal activity and go on to live a healthy, stable and drug free life. Through the treatment services provided to its participants, the Veterans Court enhances public safety in a fiscally responsible manner and improves the quality of life for the individual participants, their families and the community by reducing the likelihood that they will reoffend by comprehensively addressing their criminogenic risks and needs.
Graduations occur several times a year as the culmination of the formal part of the program. At that time, many felony charges are stricken with leave to reinstate. This allows for those felony charges to then be removed from the record. Graduates are highly encouraged to attend follow up classes as alumni members to provide additional support. Over 35 graduates have successfully completed Veterans Court.