Defendants who plea into Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) are placed on a period of probation, a requirement of which is compliance with a highly structured, court-based treatment program lasting an average of 12 months. One condition of each Participant's probation is a requirement that they be evaluated for treatment, and then follow all treatment recommendations. Participants attend VTC regularly, where their progress in treatment is discussed with the entire VTC Team, including the Judge. A Participant's successful completion of the program and all probation terms may lead to reduction or even dismissal of their charges. Entry into the program is voluntary, but once accepted, compliance is required.
Clinically appropriate based on history of mental illness, substance abuse, PTSD and/or TBI, plus willingness to accept treatment;
Legally appropriate based on unique facts and circumstances of individual veteran, his or her pending case(s) as well as criminal history;
Develop holistic and individualized treatment plans respecting the unique needs of each Participant;
Improve Participants' understanding of and access to available treatment avenues and tools;
Equip Participants through treatment with tools to manage their diagnoses and find a lasting recovery, including recovery from substance abuse, if that is also an issue;
Maintain constant emphasis on honesty and accountability, in all aspects of the program;
Assist Participants in securing appropriate employment, benefits and/or other supports to enable them to maintain recovery independently after conclusion of VTC;
Improve community functioning of Participants in areas of employment, education/training, housing and relationships;
Reduce harmful impacts of mental illness, PTSD, TBI and/or substance abuse upon Participants, families, businesses & our community;
Reduce relapse, recidivism and reincarceration.
How it Works
Referrals may come from anyone - the Judge, the State Attorney, the Defense Attorney, a Probation Officer, the Arresting Officer, Jail Staff, a pastor or counselor, the VA or other treatment provider, a family member or employer, or the veteran himself/herself.
Once identified, the veteran is screened by a mental health specialist to determine if they are clinically appropriate for the program.
If clinically appropriate, the State Attorney determines whether the veteran is legally appropriate for an opportunity in VTC, and if so, under what terms.
Once approved, the veteran, veteran's attorney & State Attorney all sign a contract agreeing to the specific conditions of the veteran's opportunity in VTC.
Upon signing the contract, the veteran enters a plea/admission according to the terms negotiated between the State Attorney and the veteran's attorney.
Participants are required to submit to appropriate evaluations for treatment and to follow all treatment recommendations, in addition to any other probation terms.
Treatment may be obtained through the VA, if the Participant is eligible for benefits and wishes to use them, or may be obtained through the David Lawrence Center or a private third-party provider, if the Participant prefers.
Each Participant's progress is monitored and discussed weekly by the VTC Team in conjunction with the Participant's regular appearances in court.
The Team has discretion to award incentives for progress, and to impose sanctions for infractions. Serious infractions may result in a Violation of Probation and/or termination from VTC.
Adult Resident of Collier County, Florida, who has served in any of the Armed Forces, for any length of time, regardless of type of service, type of discharge or eligibility for benefits
Must have a specific mental health and/or substance abuse treatment need, which may include PTSD and/or TBI
Must be legally competent to proceed
Facing misdemeanor or felony charge(s) or Violation(s) of Probation
If charges are out of another FL county, transfer to Collier may be possible
All referrals will be subject to clinical screening and final approval by the VTC Team
NOTE: VTC rules require strict sobriety. If you are currently taking medications by prescription that may be subject to abuse (such as certain pain and anxiety meds), this may affect eligibility & will need to be disclosed and discussed thoroughly before entry into VTC can be considered
Must be ready and willing to be fully honest and work hard to find a lasting recovery!
Volunteer Veteran Mentors
The Collier County VTC enjoys a strong team of volunteer veteran mentors from our community who are available at every court date (and in between as well) to assist our VTC Participants. The mentors have no direct connection with the VTC Team, and exist solely for the benefit of the Participant. Mentors aim to offer support, guidance and friendship, and have proven to be priceless to Participants, as veterans are often in the best position to understand and help other veterans. Working with a mentor is optional and comes with no obligation on the part of the Participant.
To refer a defendant to Veterans Court please click the link below and complete the referral form. All referrals must be completely filled out. Be sure you have all the relevant information before submitting a referral and be specific.
Should you have additional questions after reviewing all items on this website (including downloads in the upper right corner), please contact Katie Burrows at (239) 263-4013 x 7125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.