The Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court was established in January 2008 and diverts eligible veteran-defendants with substance dependency and/or mental illness, who are charged with felony or misdemeanor non-violent criminal offense, to a specialized criminal court docket.  Veterans are identified through evidence-based screening and assessments. They voluntarily participate in a judicially supervised treatment plan that a team of court staff, veteran health care professionals, veteran peer mentors, health care professionals and mental health professionals develop with the veteran.

The treatment court team, the Buffalo Veteran Mentor Group (a separate nonprofit organization), and a coalition of community health care providers are all vital to the success of the Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court.  The Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court has adopted, with slight modifications, the essential tenants as described by the  U.S. Department of Justice publication, Defining Drug Courts.

Unique aspects of a veterans treatment court include the following:

  • court entirely of veterans;
  • veterans health care worker(s) present in court;
  • volunteer veteran mentors (a separate nonprofit organization);
  • therapeutic environment; and
  • hybrid drug & mental health court.