Court of law or rehab program?

Patricia George, a prosecutor in Phoenix, says that after 9/11 she saw different kinds of cases come across her desk. Cases that didn’t look like the others.

George was talking about the rising number of military veterans being prosecuted by her office. The vast majority had never been involved with the criminal justice system before serving the military. When returning home, many dealt with trauma, mental and substance abuse problems that often led to arrest.

In May, 2016, the Veterans Coming Home road team visited Phoenix and spent a day with Phoenix prosecutor Patricia George, Veterans Court Mentor Raquib Abdullah and veterans like Seth, who served two deployments with the Army, and Wallace, a veteran who has struggled after having shot a child while on duty in Najaf, Iraq. Watch their story:

The Phoenix Veterans Court, and others like it around the country, are helping thousands of veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress and other issues navigate the criminal justice system. Meet some of the people involved in the Phoenix Veterans Court.

Nationwide, 46% of people who have been incarcerated find themselves in jail within 3 years of their release. For veterans who pass through the Phoenix Veterans Court, just 4% ever return.

Patricia George and many others across the country involved with Veterans Courts see opportunities to provide resources aimed at helping veterans better navigate the criminal justice system and continue being productive members of their community.

People have to have this hope, they have to have this connection, that it’s ok for me to admit that I’m hurting inside — and do something about it.
- Patricia George, Prosecutor for Phoenix Veterans Court

Find out more about Veterans Courts

Justice for Vets is a national organization advocating for Veterans Treatment Courts and mobilizing the public to take action in support of all veterans.

Learn about the Arizona Veterans Court Mentor Project.

Review the Veterans Court Resource Guide developed by the National Center for State Courts.

Watch Veterans Treatment Courts Explained by TakePart:

Veterans Coming Home is an innovative public media project exploring the lives of post-9/11 veterans, the divide between them and their communities, and the stereotypes that veterans and civilians hold about each other.

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