Hold The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountable and Confront VA Problems

(Trenton, NJ – March 7, 2017) – California, Texas, Pennsylvania and others care enough about their Veterans that mere allegations of a violent offense do not serve as a bar to consideration in their Veterans Criminal Diversion Program. NJ fancies itself as a progressive judicial system but States who have not implemented this concept have dwindled to single digits. If we are to be last, do it right – now! Studies have been done in NJ since the Vietnam Veterans, help us now.
Senate Bill 307 will be voted on Monday. But tomorrow at the Capitol, Room 209, Wednesday, March 8th, at 11:00 a.m., we will be available for questions about how families and Veterans are suffering in the criminal justice system. The current bill unnecessarily restricts admission to VA-funded treatment and leaves the Veterans and their loved ones who need help the most, on the outside looking in. We are the Veterans, Mothers, Fathers, brothers and sisters. Keep families intact, amend this bill or ask the Governor to issue a “conditional veto” and make this work for all Veterans and families. Heroin is destroying Veterans and their families too. NJ-REACH can help military families and NJ needs a uniform statute and not an inconsistent patchwork of remedies as is now proposed.

What is a Veterans Criminal Diversion Program (VCDP)?
It is a specialized court that operates within the existing New Jersey Court System. VDCPs are monitored by judges and court staff who are familiar with the unique challenges faced by Veterans of the United States Armed Forces and the strain of combat operations.

Why should New Jersey have a VCDP?

10% of those incarcerated are Veterans. Prior to enlisting, they did not have a prior arrest. Why suddenly do they break the law after deploying? Instead of a jail sentence or NJ taxpayers paying for drug and alcohol treatment, the VA pays. That is a cost savings and immediately adds treatment capacity. VCDPs do not offer preferential treatment. Instead, Veterans receive an informed court staff and possible treatment options that might not otherwise be known.


Do other states have these programs?

Yes. Presently, 40 States and Guam have such a program. Existing judges and personnel are sufficient. Veterans can be diverted from an unnecessary conviction and into long-term treatment with Veteran mentorship. Pennsylvania and New York are leaders.

Do the programs work?
Unlike a majority of parolees, Veterans’ rates of re-arrest are at unprecedented lows. Of course recidivism rates are low; Veterans are patriots, not criminals. In Buffalo, New York – home to one of the first and most widely studied Veterans Courts – not one single defendant has been rearrested after going through the treatment program. VCDPs save money, families and lives.


CONTACT: Thomas Roughneen, Esq. (908.246.9963 – Thomas@CitizenSoldierLaw.com)

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