(Marietta, Ga. – Oct. 5) Five veteran participants are scheduled to graduate from the Cobb County Veterans Court during a 9 a.m. ceremony on Friday, Oct. 13, in the Cobb County Superior Court building, 70 Haynes St., Marietta. With mentors by their sides, these veterans will seek to continue turning what once seemed like dismal paths into very bright futures for themselves and their families.
“On average, one veteran is arrested daily in Cobb County,” VTC Presiding Judge Reuben Green said. “Many of these veterans have sacrificed greatly for our country and are suffering from post-service issues that have not been addressed or treated."
This will be the fourth graduating class of successful veterans, bringing a total of 15 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, substance abuse and other mental health issues via counseling, job training and additional needed services to achieve success.
The court’s 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 instead of inmates, 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.
According to data collected from the Department of Veteran Affairs, more than 39 veterans attempt to commit suicide daily and 20 a day take their lives nationwide. About 70 percent 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 WestCare on Roswell Street. When a participant is stable in his or her recovery and treatment, the assigned VTC team addresses other issues which hinde r 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 his or her assigned veteran to succeed in the program and graduate. VTC mentors must be honorably-discharged from military service, have no prior criminal record and be willing to commit to the duration of assisting a minimum of one veteran for the entirety of the 18-month VTC program.
For more information, please contact Flynn Broady at 770-528-7988 or firstname.lastname@example.org.