The mission of the Veterans Justice Programs is to identify justice-involved Veterans and contact them through outreach, in order to facilitate access to VA services at the earliest possible point. Veterans Justice Programs accomplish this by building and maintaining partnerships between VA and key elements of the criminal justice system.
VA cannot provide legal services. For legal assistance, visit State Side Legal’s help page or contact the nearest VJO specialist, who may know of community legal assistance resources. Many VA facilities host free legal clinics for Veterans, operated by non-VA legal service providers. Click here to see a list of those legal service clinics.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, free legal clinics are no longer operating on-site at VA facilities. However, many non-VA legal providers are still providing legal services available to Veterans by phone or email. To seek assistance on a legal matter, Veterans may call or email a legal services provider listed in their area.
With questions about the VJO national program, contact Katie Stewart, MSW, LCSW, national coordinator.
If you or someone you know is a justice-involved Veteran, email the VJO specialist nearest you for assistance accessing VA health care services.
Visit the Justice for Vets site to learn more about Veterans Treatment Courts.
Veterans Treatment Courts and other Veteran-focused courts served by VA Veterans
Justice Outreach Specialists
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program is a preventionfocused component of VA’s Homeless Programs Office (HPO), whose mission is to end homelessness
among Veterans. Since the program was founded in 2009, VJO specialists at all VA medical centers
have provided outreach to justice-involved Veterans in various settings, including jails and courts. As of
December 2021, VJO specialists report serving in 623 Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs) and other
Veteran-focused court programs across the U.S. The number of these courts has grown significantly
since June 2016, when VJO Specialists reported serving in 461 courts.
What is a Veterans Treatment Court?
The VTC model is based on the drug and mental health courts that have existed for nearly 30 years.
Unlike traditional criminal courts, the primary purpose of a VTC is not to determine whether a defendant
is guilty of an offense, but rather to ensure that he or she receives treatment to address unmet clinical
needs. Several factors distinguish VTCs from drug and mental health courts, most notably their focus on
Veteran defendants, and the involvement of volunteer Veteran mentors who provide non-clinical support
to Veteran participants. VTCs reflect the communities that choose to start them, and there is
considerable variation among the courts in both participant eligibility criteria and operational processes.
What is VA’s role in these courts?
VTCs are initiated, funded, and operated by local governments, rather than by VA. However, VA directly
supports VTCs through the participation of its VJO specialists as members of VTC treatment teams, and
through the health care services it provides to Veteran defendants, most of whom would otherwise receive
care at county expense. The specialists assess Veteran defendants’ treatment needs, link Veterans with
appropriate VA treatment services, and (with the Veterans’ permission) provide regular updates to the
court on their progress in treatment. VA’s role in a VTC is limited to the treatment-related aspects of the
court process; VA does not decide which Veteran defendants should be admitted to a VTC or define the
level of offenses (e.g., misdemeanor vs. felony) that a VTC will accept. VJO specialists work closely with
justice system partners as they plan new VTCs, informing the partners about VA services that would be
available to Veterans defendants locally or regionally. However, as with all VJO-related services, the
specialists do not advocate specifically for the use of a particular model or set numerical targets for desired
VTC growth. Instead, they help communities plan to meet the needs of justice-involved Veterans using
approaches that best fit local circumstances.
For more information, contact:
Contact information for each VJO Specialist is available below ( Sourced from ).
Sourced from: https://www.va.gov/homeless/vjo.asp
Information vetted by the Veteran X Team.