Seven people will graduate from the Fourth Judicial District’s Veterans Trauma Court in a ceremony that also marks the program’s 10-year anniversary.
The ceremony is set for 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the Jury Room of the El Paso County Judicial Building, 270 S. Tejon St.
The Veterans Trauma Court provides an alternative to incarceration for U.S. military veterans and active-duty military personnel with trauma spectrum disorders and/or substance use disorder, according to a news release from Colorado Judicial Department spokesman Jon Sarche.
Participants undergo treatment and counseling, make regular court appearances and are intensively supervised during the 18-month program, Sarche said.
“We are very proud of all the graduates who have worked so hard and exhibited great dedication to complete the program and start to turn their lives around,” District Judge David Shakes, who presides over the court, said in the news release. “The whole team is thrilled to celebrate this milestone, and we look forward to continuing to help those who have given so much to serve their country.”
The Fourth Judicial District VTC — which encompasses El Paso and Teller counties — was the first of its kind in Colorado, and one of the first in the United States to work with veterans who had been charged with felonies, Sarche said.
Since its inception, 488 veterans have entered the VTC program, with 326 successfully completing its requirements, Sarche said. As of November, 91 veterans are currently enrolled in the program.
The National Association of Drug Court Professionals named the Fourth Judicial District VTC a national peer training court in 2016, according to the release. The VTC team has helped train nearly 90 team members from 17 similar programs starting around the country, Sarche said.
The VTC is one of 76 problem-solving courts operating in 20 of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts. Problem-solving courts include adult and juvenile drug courts, family courts, DUI courts and mental health courts.