Sedgwick County Unveils Plans for Veterans Treatment Court
(Sedgwick County, Kan.) – The Sedgwick County Board of County Commissioners voted to accept a grant from the Kansas Supreme Court Office of Judicial Administration (OJA) in the amount of $475,867 on behalf of Sedgwick County Department of Corrections, to support the creation of a Veteran's Treatment Court in Sedgwick County District Court. This specialized court would offer qualified veterans convicted of certain felony offenses related to mental illness or substance abuse the option of serving time in treatment, instead of prison. This rehabilitative probation recognizes the frequency that veterans suffer from untreated mental health conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and addiction, following their military service.
The grant from Byrne Discretionary Community Project Funding was awarded to the Kansas Supreme Court Office of Judicial Administration (OJA), which contracts with Sedgwick County Department of Corrections. The funding runs through the end of July 2025, but the goal is to make Veterans Treatment Court a permanent part of the criminal court system in the 18th Judicial District of Kansas.
Veterans must meet several conditions to qualify for Veterans Treatment Court. They must:
- Live in Sedgwick County.
- Have discharged from the military honorably or under conditions other than dishonorably.
- Be convicted of a qualifying felony resulting from a mental health or substance abuse disorder.
- Agree to a probation term of 18 months.
Crimes of conviction cannot be:
- Serious felonies, Levels 1-3.
- Domestic violence, if the offender has prior felony DV convictions.
- Any crime involving a drive-by shooting or serious bodily harm.
- Felony sex offenses
The target date for implementing Veterans Treatment Court is July 1, 2023. It is a collaboration between these partners:
- Sedgwick County Department of Corrections
- Kansas Judicial Branch
- The 18th Judicial District
- Robert J Dole VA Medical Center
- The Office of the District Attorney of the 18th Judicial District
- Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office
- Sedgwick County Public Defender’s Office-SBIDS
By providing peer counseling and treatment, accountability and structure to a veteran struggling with mental health issues and/or addiction, Sedgwick County aims to break the cycle of recidivism and avoid incarceration in an already overcrowded detention facility. In turn, by connecting a recovering vet with health, education and disability benefits earned through military service, it is the goal of this program to return the person to the life they fought to protect.