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Veteran Trauma Court holds graduation ceremony celebrating five years of working with justice-involved veterans

Monday, November 10, 2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Twenty U.S. military veterans who have completed an intensive criminal court program designed to provide treatment, peer services, housing and employment for veterans with substance abuse and/or mental health disorders will graduate in a public ceremony Nov. 13, 2014.

The celebration at the El Paso County Judicial Building, 270 S. Tejon Street, in Colorado Springs, will feature a keynote address by Lt. Col. Aaron M. Termain, battalion command of the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Carson. It will be the tenth graduation ceremony since the Veteran Trauma Court was founded in December 2009.

“We are honored to celebrate our fifth anniversary,” said District Judge David Shakes, who presides over the court. “The success of our program reflects the willingness of the Judicial Branch to partner with stakeholders in our community to develop and sustain an innovative program that improves community safety, reduces jail and prison costs, and offers opportunities for treatment for those veterans who are in the criminal justice system and suffer from a service-related trauma spectrum disorder.”

Among the first of the nearly 200 such courts in the United States, the Colorado Springs Veteran Trauma Court is a judicially supervised criminal court docket that reduces correctional costs by providing an alternative to incarceration while protecting community safety and ensuring defendants are accountable.

Eligible military veterans with trauma spectrum disorders and/or substance abuse issues may be moved to the Veteran Trauma Court based on decisions made by a team including personnel from the Fourth Judicial District courts and Probation Department, District Attorney’s Office, State Public Defender’s Office, El Paso County and Teller County sheriff’s offices, Colorado Springs Police Department, Veterans Administration, Warrior Support Center, Rocky Mountain Human Services, Cedar Springs, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Trauma Clinic, Aspen Pointe and other community partners. The program is supervised by District Judge David Shakes, a former U.S. Army Judge Advocate.

Participants in the voluntary program agree to actively engage in treatment and counseling, make regular court appearances, and are intensively supervised. The program team helps participants access treatment for trauma-spectrum disorders, domestic violence, and substance abuse, as well as connect to housing, educational and employment resources.

For further information, please contact Veteran Trauma Court Coordinator Kisten Born at or 719-452-5039, or visit

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