When veterans get in trouble with the law, substance abuse and mental health issues stemming from their military service are often contributing factors. A growing number of counties in the U.S., including Santa Clara, have set up special courts for veterans that favor treatment over punishment. How well do such programs work?

Stephen Manley, judge in the Santa Clara County Superior Court presiding over the Veterans Treament Court
Wendy Lindley, Orange County Superior Court judge overseeing the special treatment court for veterans
Nick Stefanovic, U.S. Marine, combat veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and graduate of the Rochester, New York Veterans Treatment Court
Christopher Deutsch, director of communications for Justice for Vets, which advocates for the creation of veterans treatment courts

  • Ben

    Just want to send kudos to Scott Shafer for doing a great job as moderator on this and other shows. He asks good questions, tactfully, and effectively gets at the essences of complex issues.

  • Michael


    While there can be no argument that our country owes a great deal to
    the men who are willing to sacrifice their lives to defend our nation’s interests, I have to stand with the motto “equal justice under the law”.

    If there exists a legal problem, fix the law.

    If there is a problem with VA Dept, fix the VA Services.

    Why not have a separate justice track for the homeless, the CHP,
    the CEO’s, the 1%?
    When our nation begins to have alternative tracks
    in the justice system, there will no longer be “equal justice for all”.
    -Michael , El Cerrito

  • It is so important that we all better understand this model and the drug-court model used for non-veterans. Incarcerating a person for committing a crime while under the influence or in the grips of an untreated brain disease, including mental illness, traumatic brain injury and/or addiction, will not rehabilitate a person. A brain disease changes cells in the brain, which is what controls everything a person thinks, feels, says and does. Therefore, treating the brain disease is what can help a person “think” more clearly and therefore act responsibly. Thank you for this very important program!

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