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Tenth Judicial District Veterans Treatment Court celebrates inaugural graduation

Monday, November 14, 2016

PUEBLO, Colo. – The Tenth Judicial District Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) will celebrate its first graduation on Nov. 18, 2016, marking more than 18 months of dedication by four military veterans who have successfully completed the intensive treatment and monitoring program.

The ceremony is set for 2:30 p.m. in Courtroom 404 of the Dennis Maes Pueblo Judicial Building (501 N. Elizabeth Avenue). The public is welcome to attend, but participants’ full names will not be used, and members of the public will not be permitted to photograph participants’ faces.

The VTC program in the Tenth Judicial District (Pueblo County) is one of several in Colorado designed to serve as an alternative to incarceration for eligible military veterans in the criminal justice system who need treatment for substance abuse or disorders such as traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress, which complicate their compliance with general probation or incarceration.

The mission of the VTC is to show appreciation for veterans’ service and to protect public safety by coordinating services and providing a judicially supervised regimen of treatment to improve the quality of life for participants, their families and the community. It has 18 participants at various stages in the 12- to 24-month program.

“The time I’ve spent overseeing Pueblo’s Veterans Treatment Court has been one of the happier moments of my career as a judicial officer,” said District Judge David Crockenberg, who presides over the VTC docket. “Seeing our VTC participants become a family and support each other throughout the program, and witnessing the amount of effort our participants have put into regaining control of their lives, has been nothing short of remarkable. Unfortunately, it’s not something most judges ever get to experience.”

Like other problem-solving courts in Colorado and elsewhere, the VTC prioritizes community safety while participants are held accountable for their actions and gain the treatment needed to help rebuild their lives. Participants in the voluntary program agree to actively engage in treatment and counseling, make frequent court appearances and are intensively supervised.

Eligible military veterans with trauma spectrum disorders and/or substance abuse issues may be diverted to the VTC based on decisions made by a team including personnel from the 10th Judicial District Court and Probation Department, prosecutors, public defenders, local law enforcement and treatment professionals.

The Pueblo VTC is one of about 80 problem-solving courts in Colorado, including adult and juvenile drug courts, family/dependency and neglect drug courts, DUI courts, adult and juvenile mental health courts, veteran trauma courts and truancy courts.

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