Veterans Participating In The Macomb County Veterans’ Treatment Court
The Macomb County Veterans’ Treatment Court is designed to provide aid to veterans that sacrificed and served this Country in times of war and peace.
This specialized Court allows veterans involved in the criminal justice system to be placed in a program that is designed to address the underlying issues that often result in veterans becoming involved in criminal activity: mental illness, (depression, PTSD, anxiety, etc.), substance abuse, homelessness, unemployment and physical illness. Often these issues are linked to military service. The ultimate goal of the Veterans’ Treatment Court is to assist the treatment and rehabilitation of the veteran so that he or she may again become a productive member of the community.
Not every veteran is eligible for admission to the Macomb County Veterans’ Treatment Court. The type of crime, discharge status and commitment of the veteran to the program are the main determinants of program entry.
Once admitted to the program, the veteran must complete an intense, multi-phase process that lasts 18 months to two years. During that time the veteran must engage in drug testing (minimally twice a week), mental and/or substance abuse counseling and treatment, abstinence from alcohol and illegal substances, specialized PTSD counseling if indicated, physical evaluation if
indicated, employment if not physically or mentally disabled and successful completion of all other terms and conditions of probation. It is not a program for the uncommitted. Only intense work and dedication of the part of the veteran will result in graduation. Successful completion of the program may result in a reduced charge or sentence.
A critical component of the Veterans’ Treatment Program involves the assignment of a volunteer mentor to every veteran admitted to the program. The mentor acts as a confidant, and facilitator to assist the veteran through the program. As mentor coordinator Ret. Lt. Colonel John Walus, Esq., says, “no one can speak to a veteran like a veteran can.”
While the Veterans Administration (VA), provides many services for veterans admitted to the program, many items for successful completion are not covered by the VA.
The Veterans’ Treatment Court Team involves Circuit Court Judge Mark Switalski (felonies) and 41B District Court Judge Carrie Fuca (misdeameanors), an assistant prosecutor, defense attorney, veterans outreach coordinator, case manager, speciality court manager and probation officer.