Our Veteran's Treatment Court serves the cities of Lakewood, University Place, Steilacoom and DuPont. Veteran's Court is for anyone who has served in the armed forces who has an open criminal charge with a nexus to a service connected disability. The veteran also has to meet the requirements of eligibility as a candidate per RCW 2.30.030.
Veteran's Treatment Court is an optional program that is a collaboration of numerous agencies: Lakewood Municipal Court, the Veteran's Administration (VA), Defense Counsel, the Prosecutor’s Office, Probation and many other community partners. Working together these agencies established a viable option for a select group of justice-involved veterans whose needs are better met through treatment intervention rather than incarceration. Veteran's Treatment Court is a program that requires participants to live clean and sober while attending treatment and court regularly.
The mission of the Lakewood Municipal Veteran's Treatment Court is to work collaboratively with community partners and resources to help veterans reintegrate into our community more effectively by connecting them with the services they have earned.
Across the country veteran's courts have been shown to reduce recidivism and help participants make lifestyle changes that have a lasting impact on more than just the veteran. Through the program, participants are required to do volunteer work within the community. By doing volunteer work, veteran participants make community connections that they may not otherwise make and those connections help build a bond between the veteran participant and the community.
The Goal of the Veteran's Treatment Court is:
- Increase community/public safety and awareness.
- Reduce participant contacts with the criminal justice system.
- Reduce costs associated with the criminal case processing and re-arrest.
- Introduce participants to an ongoing process of recovery designed to help them become stable, substance-free and employed, utilizing treatment resources through the VA or other community agencies to address the individual issued throughout the Veteran's Treatment Court process.
Veteran's Court is a 18-24 month program depending on the specific needs of the participant and the agreement reached with the City Prosecutor. During the course of the program veterans are required to adhere to a strict program which includes monthly check-ins with the court, weekly meetings with probation, attendance at support groups, and regualr urinalysis testing. If all the conditions are met the charges are ultimately dismissed upon successful completion.
Veteran's Court is held Wednesdays at 2 p.m. at Lakewood City Hall, 6000 Main St SW. Dates vary each month based on other court calendars. Veteran's Court can be held as often as bi-weekly and each veteran on the calendar is expected to stay for the entire calendar. The reason for remaining in the courtroom for the entire calendar is because veterans can hear what is going on with fellow veterans and offer support in situations they may have dealt with themselves.
If you are a veteran who meets the criteria and would like to get additional information please contact your attorney. The process starts with a defense attorney advising the court that they would like to pursue Veterans’ Court. Once the court is aware of Veteran's Court as an option, the prosecutor gives tentative approval pending a risk assessment/ pre-sentence interview with probation. The veteran also needs to connect with the local Veterans Justice Outreach Coordinator (VJO) at American Lake to establish their eligibility for VA services. Once all the appointment have been handled the court requires potential participants to view a Veteran’s Court prior to entry.
DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: If you have a client who is interested in veterans’ court, please note that once they have entered the Veteran’s Court Contract the Veteran’s Court Defense Attorney, employed by the public defenders’ office, is available to appear with the client at all mandatory monthly court appearances. For additional information please contact Horwath Law at (253) 426-1784.