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New Court for Veterans in Butler County

The latest treatment court for veterans opened Thursday in Butler County. Judge Tim McCune will preside over the court. 

"It doesn't cost the county anything because we are dealing with these cases anyway," he said. 

Of the veteran's cases reviewed in 2011 by The Butler County Probation office, 56 percent of the vets had been homeless, 62 percent had mental health issues and 47 percent had substance abuse issues.

Similar to other specialty courts, including substance abuse and mental health courts, veterans's treatment courts aim to divert those with specific issues away from the justice system and into treatment for the underlying causes for the criminal behavior that has bought them into contact with the justice system.

There are thirteen veteran's courts in Pennsylvania. They work as a sort of partnership between the courts and the VA. 

Last week, the Department of Justice awarded the commonwealth a $200,000 grant to conduct an evaluation of the courts. Karen Blackburn who runs the state's specialty courts said the recidivism rate for those that have gone through veteran's court in the commonwealth is under ten percent.