Bridging the Military-Civilian Divide

Veterans court: Court of law or rehab program? (or both?)

Veterans Court - Phoenix data

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People have to have this hope, they have to have this connection, that it’s ok for me to admit that I’m hurting inside — and do something about it.
– Patricia George, Prosecutor for Phoenix Veterans Court

Patricia George, a prosecutor in Phoenix, says that after 9/11 she saw different kinds of cases come across her desk. Cases that didn’t look like the others.

George was talking about the rising number of military veterans being prosecuted by her office. The vast majority had never been involved with the criminal justice system before serving the military. When returning home, many dealt with trauma, mental and substance abuse problems that often led to arrest.

In May, 2016, the Veterans Coming Home road team visited Phoenix and spent a day with Phoenix prosecutor Patricia George, Veterans Court Mentor Raquib Abdullah and veterans like Seth, who served two deployments with the Army, and Wallace, a veteran who has struggled after having shot a child while on duty in Najaf, Iraq. Watch their story:

Nationwide, 46% of people who have been incarcerated find themselves in jail within 3 years of their release. For veterans who pass through the Phoenix Veterans Court, just 4% ever return.

Patricia George and many others across the country involved with Veterans Courts see opportunities to provide resources aimed at helping veterans better navigate the criminal justice system and continue being productive members of their community.

Find out more about Veterans Courts

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