A Veterans Treatment Court Graduation and Promotion Celebration will take place on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 1 p.m. in Courtroom 8C, 8th floor, of the Regional Justice Center. U.S. Air Force Reserve Colonel and Justice of the Peace, Melissa Saragosa will be the keynote speaker.
Many veterans return from their military service with difficulty transitioning to civilian life. This is especially true of veterans who spent time deployed in combat zones during times of conflict or war. These men and women are among our nation's greatest assets. More than half of the 2.6 million veterans deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan return with mental health conditions related to their service. One in six struggle from addiction; one in five have PTSD. Left untreated, these issues make it difficult to adjust to everyday life after they return and can lead to unemployment, homelessness and arrest. There are 700,000 veterans in the criminal justice system today, many of them arrested for charges directly related to trauma, addiction or mental illness. The Veterans Treatment Court provides an alternative to incarceration that offers treatment, accountability and structure while connecting the veteran to services and benefits they have earned.
To progress and graduate from Veterans Treatment Court, each individual must have attended treatment sessions, counseling and appointments; developed goals for their future; obtained housing; be financially stable; and be drug and alcohol free for a minimum of 90 days prior to graduation. These veterans are working hard to regain control of their lives. We welcome members of the community to come celebrate their accomplishments.
Judge Letizia was appointed to take over Veterans Treatment Court in March of 2018 by Chief Judge Joe Bonaventure. Prior to her judicial election, Judge Letizia represented many veterans participating in the Veterans Treatment Court Program in her capacity as a public defender.