NJ Courts’ Veterans Assistance Program marks 7 years, 3100+ referrals
A program by the New Jersey Judiciary quietly marks its seventh year of helping veterans in legal trouble find services to help them.
The Veterans Assistance Project has tended 3,129 ex-service members in all 21 New Jersey counties since its inception as a pilot project in 2008 in Atlantic County, according to information from the state Judiciary offices.
Veterans charged with offenses, indictable and non-indictable, other than small traffic matters, are eligible, but it isn't a means to avoid the justice system.
It is a path to help for men and women who return from deployment with psychological, physical or personal issues that lead to drugs, alcohol, or criminal accusations.
Court officials collaborate with the New Jersey Deparment of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMAVA), the state Department of Human Services, and the Division of Mental Health Services to refer vets to existing programs and treatments.
"The growth and success of the Veterans Assistance Project statewide over the past seven years means that more veterans and their families who have sacrificed to defend our country are receiving the services and support they need and deserve," Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said in prepared statements.
"The Judiciary is pleased to work with other agencies to address the special concerns of veterans who come into contact with the criminal justice system."
Arrestees are asked during apprehension, and again at initial court appearances, if they've served in the U.S. military. Once the point is established, veterans are referred to the Veterans Service office for a needs assessment, which opens doors to support programs.