VTC operates within the Drug Court program in Kentucky, which began in 1996 and now serves 115 counties. With nearly 20 years of experience, the Drug Court program has earned a reputation for reducing recidivism and returning participants to productive lives. Drug Court’s proven track record provides the structure for the VTC program.
The Administrative Office of the Courts oversees the Drug Court program and the VTC program. VTCs are implemented and guided by teams comprised of judges, Drug Court staff, veterans’ agencies, mental health and substance abuse treatment providers, law enforcement, the legal community and community members. Team members identify a veteran’s needs and connect them with services.
The VTC program lasts approximately 18 months to two years, depending on the level of services needed and the progress made by the veteran. Volunteer mentors meet with the veterans to encourage their progress in the program. When participants successfully complete the program, charges may be dismissed through diversion or conditional discharge may be granted through probation. Judges who serve VTCs volunteer their time to the program.
10 Key Components
The AOC administers Drug Court using the 10 Key Components model from the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. VTC programs are implemented using the 10 Key Components of Veterans Treatment Court.
Each VTC is based on the seven evidence-based designs and strategies endorsed by the National Institute of Justice’s Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation.
Kentucky is implementing its VTC programs with grants from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance. Funding is used to provide treatment and other support services to veterans and to employ case managers to work closely with the existing Drug Court, the Veterans Administration Medical Center and other community partners to assist veterans entering the criminal justice system.
VTC teams receive training on the state level and seek training through the Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative of the National Drug Court Institute.