- All photos courtesy of Office of the Chief Judge and Court Administrator, 16th Judicial Circuit.
The Kane County Veterans Treatment Court’s first graduation ceremony on Feb. 24, 2020, at the Kane County Judicial Center, St. Charles, was something to see and a proud moment for a program that aims to help more veterans recover from the scourge of drugs and the trauma of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The graduation included a color guard, a Quilt of Valor and words by the graduate and his treatment team.
The veteran’s name was withheld to protect his identity, but the 16th Circuit Court provided images of the ceremony, shown here.
The Kane County Veterans Treatment Court began in January 2018. Last week’s ceremony marked the completion of an intensive program of comprehensive substance abuse and mental health treatment and accountability for the combat veteran who served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps.
Master of ceremonies for the graduation was Kane County Specialty Court Judge Marmarie Kostelny.
Veterans’ treatment courts have gained national prominence as the most innovative solution for veterans caught up in the criminal justice system due to substance use and/or mental health disorders and trauma.
A growing number of veterans suffer from PTSD and traumatic brain injury. These issues may be exacerbated by the loss of structure and camaraderie found in the military.
Research continues to link substance use disorders with service-related mental health conditions. These conditions can increase involvement with the justice system.
How Veterans Treatment Court Works
In the Kane County Veterans Treatment Court, those veterans with a diagnosed mental health condition or substance use disorder engage in treatment while under close supervision.
Veterans Treatment Court participants are required to complete all necessary treatment and are regularly and randomly tested for drug and alcohol use. The veterans are also required to appear frequently in court for the judge to review their progress.
Research continues to show that Veterans Treatment Courts work better than jail or prison and better than treatment alone, officials said.
Veterans treatment courts connect these men and women to the benefits and treatment they deserve, saving their lives, families, and futures, while saving tax dollars for the American public.
Kostelny said it was exciting to celebrate the success of the court’s first graduate.
“He has done an outstanding job in a very rigorous program,” she said. “Our veterans make great sacrifices for the benefit of our nation. I am proud that our judicial system has a program designed to assist veterans who have struggled upon their return home.”