According to a report from the US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, nearly 8% of inmates serving time in state and federal prisons and local jails are veterans. Despite making up a sizeable portion of the criminal justice system, diversion options specific to veterans are few and far between.
In 2008, Judge Robert Russell, the presiding judge of the Buffalo Drug and Mental health Courts, established the nation’s first Veterans Treatment Court intended to provide structure and rehabilitation for military men and women. In 2016, Johnson County followed suit and established the first and only Veteran’s Treatment Court in Kansas.
Now, with eyes on criminal justice reform across the country, several legal leaders in Kansas are encouraging more of these treatment courts be adopted across the state.