Three Veterans to Graduate from Cobb County Veterans Treatment Court
The Cobb County Veterans Court (VTC) is scheduled to graduate three veteran participants during a 9:00 a.m. ceremony at the Cobb County Superior Court Building, located at 70 Haynes Street. Given COVID-19 there will be limited in person attendance and only those who have RSVP’ed will be allowed to attend in person. We will also be acknowledging several of our community supporters including American Legion Post 29, Georgia Vietnam Veterans Alliance, Johnson Ferry Baptist Military Steering Committee, and the Men’s Wearhouse on Barrett Parkway. This will be the 14th graduating class of successful veterans, bringing a total of 49 local participants who have completed the 18-month intensive treatment program. The Cobb County VTC began June 13, 2014, joining a nationwide surge of accountability courts specifically tailored for veterans, addressing issues of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and other mental health issues via counseling, job training, and additional needed services to achieve success.
The Veterans Treatment Court mission is to increase public safety by reducing recidivism; alleviate the tax burden of incarcerating law-breaking veterans by assisting participants to become productive taxpayers versus inmates; to provide intensive case management to address mental health issues, and offer the familiarity of structure and accountability, similar to what they encountered during military service.
An estimated 774,464 veterans reside in Georgia, with 47,000 of them living in Cobb County. Locally, 4,500 active duty/reservists are assigned to Dobbins Air Reserve Base. VTC Presiding Chief Judge Reuben Green states, “On average, one veteran is arrested daily in Cobb County. Many of these veterans have sacrificed greatly for our country, and are suffering from post-service issues that have not been addressed or treated.”
According to data collected from the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), nationwide over 39 veterans attempt to commit suicide daily and 20 a day take their lives. Approximately 70% of veterans who took their own lives, did not access services provided by the VA which could have possibly prevented a majority of these suicides. The tragic daily deaths of 20 veterans is potentially a number that is under-reported, since many of these veterans were embarrassed or unwilling to report their veteran status prior to ending their lives.
Together with the Atlanta VA, Cobb County VTC participants receive alcohol and drug treatment in Decatur and are given additional treatment locally via a private counselor. When a participant is stable in their recovery and treatment, the assigned VTC team addresses other issues which hinder an enrollee’s success, such as unemployment, lack of stable housing, the need for continuing education, or the benefits of family counseling.
One of the most unique aspects of the VTC is the Mentor Program. Each VTC participant is paired with a veteran who understands the challenges encountered by their assigned veteran to succeed in the program and graduate. VTC mentors must be honorably-discharged from military service, have no prior criminal record, and are willing to commit to the duration of assisting a minimum of one veteran for the entirety of their 18-month VTC program.
Three veteran participants will graduate from the VTC on November 13th at 9 a.m. With their mentors by their sides, these veterans will turn what once seemed like a dismal path, into a very bright future for themselves, and also their families.
For more information, please contact Katelyn Parker at 770-528-7988 or email Katelyn at [email protected]