Veteran Treatment Courts
Veteran Treatment Courts are hybrid courts that incorporate elements of drug and mental health specialty courts for the purpose of helping justice-involved veterans resolve underlying issues that may have contributed to their arrest. The model provides veterans with treatment and support services as an alternative to incarceration for some non-violent offenses.
Michigan circuit and district courts can establish VTCs. Establishing a court requires the?commitment of several?key stakeholders in the court's jurisdiction including the prosecuting attorney, the criminal defense bar, a community treatment provider, at least one veteran service organization and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The court must also participate in state training.
There are 25 operational treatment courts in Michigan.?
A partnership between MVAA and?the Michigan Department of Corrections is helping to provide incarcerated veterans in Michigan stability upon their release.
A program brings veteran service officers to Michigan correctional facilities to assist veterans with filing VA pension and disability compensation claims?while still incarcerated.?Those claims can?be expedited once the VA receives confirmation that the veteran has been released from the facility.?Inmates should ask to meet with a VSO one year prior to their expected parole date.
A veteran's benefits are greatly reduced during their incarceration. Those benefits can be reopened after incarceration is completed;?however, veterans typically have had to wait several months to receive benefits as they cannot file a claim until they are separated or paroled from?the correctional facility. By completing the reopening?process prior to release, a veteran can get back on solid footing sooner.?
In addition, veterans who may be eligible for disability compensation can now engage in the application process while incarcerated. With the introduction of the Disability Questionnaires, an incarcerated veteran no longer has to go to a VA Medical Center for the required exam. Under the MDOC and MVAA pilot program, MDOC health care providers complete the DBQ and a veteran can submit the necessary medical information along with their application for the VA to make the disability determination. The MDOC has committed to transporting veterans to a VA Medical Center if a DBQ is not available for the claimed disability or if a specialty examination is required.
Veteran Legal Clinics
Some Michigan law schools offer clinics to assist veterans with legal issues. For more information about the types of cases taken and assistance available, visit the following school websites:
Free Legal Aid Clinic - Law School - Wayne State University
Additional legal resources information is available in the?Michigan Military and Veterans Legal Service Guide or at the following organizations:
Phone: Phone intake is available through the Counsel and Advocacy Law Line (CALL) at 1-888-783-8190. Operates Monday through Thursday between 9:00am - 5:00pm (and until 6:00 on Wednesday only), or Friday between 9:00am - 1:00pm.