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Yavapai County Courts Honoring Those Who Served

Sedona AZ (October 30, 2018) – With Veterans Day around the corner, we as a community will pause to honor those men and women who answered their call to duty. This Veterans Day we must ensure that our gratitude is carried to all those that served, including those members that continue to struggle with day-to-day life. Research has shown that one in five post 9/11 veterans struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and one in six have problems with substance abuse. Sometimes these struggles land veterans in the hands of the criminal justice system. When that happens, Veteran Treatment Courts step in to ensure that those veterans receive the structure, treatment and compassion they need to get their lives back on track.

Prior to the formation of Veteran Treatment Courts, former service members would be scattered throughout the justice system in a manner that made finding effective treatment interventions extremely difficult to locate. Veterans’ Courts have bridged that gap to insure that justice involved veterans are able to easily access the services they need to get back on track while remaining compliant with all justice requirements.

America honors its veterans on November 11 – thank an active military and retired veteran every day.

For the past year and a half, Yavapai County Superior Courts have been expressing their gratitude to those veterans that have struggled and found their way into the criminal justice system. Founded in March 2017, Yavapai County Veterans’ Treatment Court has been serving veterans convicted of felony offenses within the county. Veterans’ Treatment Court is a multiagency collaboration including the County Attorney, Public Defender, Adult Probation, Veterans Affairs, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 16, the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, US Vets, the Veterans Resource Center, Catholic Charities, West Yavapai Guidance Clinic, as well as several other veteran service organizations (VSO’s) from the community. Spearheading the program since its inception has been Yavapai County Presiding Judge David Mackey. Under Judge Mackey’s direction, veterans in the criminal justice system that need the structure and support of Veterans’ Court are identified quickly and brought into the program. Once accepted, veteran’s eligibility for various interventions are determined and appropriate treatment begins.

Unlike traditional court proceedings, the judge does not wear his customary robe and participants sit at a table directly in front of him. Attorneys no longer argue about what actions should and shouldn’t be taken with a participant, but rather work together to find a solution best suited for each participant’s specific needs. In addition to traditional services offered, each participant is assigned a mentor to assist him or her in their journey. Founded by Richard Null and Walt Lynn with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 16, Walt meets with veterans entering the program and connects them with a volunteer mentor to assist them. In addition to the mentor program, the DAV is giving participants the opportunity to participate in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy through Heroes and Horses, a local nonprofit dedicated to helping veterans with trauma. As if that wasn’t enough, the DAV has also been able to offer housing to several veterans in the program, provide jobs to participants at their local thrift store and provide financial assistance to those in need.

Veterans are exceptional individuals well deserving of the respect they earned in the service to our country. Research has shown that veterans will struggle with both mental health and substance abuse at a higher rate than the general population. Regardless of the circumstances that lead to their involvement in the criminal justice system, Yavapai County chooses to honor these veterans, not just this Veterans Day, but also the remaining 364 days this year.

This SedonaEye.com article by Yavapai County Deputy Adult Probation Officer Allen M. Morris, Veterans Court Coordinator.

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  1. Democrats for Martha McSally says:

    Vote Martha McSally for Senate. She’s a vet, she’s the 1st female fighter pilot to fly combat missions in America! She might get beaten by a 2 bit leftist party liar who supports Sanctuary Cities, amnesty, no border protection, higher taxes on the poor and on the retireds, getting rid of ICE, anti police and anti military and veterans. ALL vets and families should be united to vote McSally for the Senate. She’s one of us! Vote McSally. Cross party lines to vote McSally on election day!

  2. Mark Singer says:

    Count my independent vote for her.

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