FORT HOOD, Texas — III Corps and Fort Hood is hosting a Veterans Endeavor for Treatment and Support (VETS) Court graduation ceremony 3 p.m. Jan. 27 at the III Corps Headquarters building here.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) will serve as commencement speaker and three military veterans will be recognized as the very first graduates of the new program.
Each of these veterans entered the program in early 2016 when charges were filed against him or her for misdemeanor offenses. Each has completed a rigorous program of court supervision, treatment and counseling with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and mentorship from a community veteran mentor. As a result of their successful completion of the program, the charges filed against each of these veterans have been dismissed.
The Fort Hood VETS was launched in January 2016 by Federal Magistrate Judge Jeffrey C. Manske with support from the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, Richard L. Durbin, Jr., U.S. Probation and U.S. Pretrial Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Fort Hood military community.
The VETS Court program diverts veterans who have committed low-level criminal offenses out of the traditional criminal justice system and into a program of intensive supervision, treatment, and monitoring. To be eligible for the program, veterans must have a mental health issue that relates both to the veteran’s military service and to the charged criminal offense. The program then seeks to address the root causes of the criminal conduct by treating the underlying mental health issue, supporting the veteran through community supervision and mentorship, and building connections to the VA Healthcare system and Texas Veterans Commission that will endure beyond participation in the VETS Court program.
In addition to the three graduates, eight additional veterans are currently in VETS with new applications being reviewed on a biweekly basis.
Media desiring to attend the event must register no later than 4 p.m. Jan. 26. On Jan. 27, media will meet a public affairs representative at the south side parking lot of the visitors’ center at 2:15 p.m. Additionally, A brief media availability with Senator Cornyn and other VETS Court stakeholders will follow the ceremony.