Veterans Treatment Court Docket announced
To the public,
In 2021, our office announced that we would seek the creation of a new specialty docket to join our Drug Treatment Court Docket. This new docket would serve the unique needs of justice involved veterans in this community. At that time, I stated “I see a need to have a Veterans Treatment Court Docket in Southwest Virginia because, in conjunction with other agencies, it could make a real difference in ensuring other veterans like Mr. Williams can receive specialized services, and individualized treatment plans. As our office firmly believes veterans have earned that right and so much more. Serving your country is one of the greatest honors a person can have. We owe them everything we can do.”
In November 2022, we were able to provide the public an update that included “When we decided to seek permission from the VA Supreme Court to establish a Veterans Treatment Court Docket in Pulaski County, we knew it would be a long and challenging process. We did not let that deter us. We are deeply committed to providing the best treatment court docket possible for our justice involved veterans here in Pulaski County. Our veteran community is more than worthy and deserving of these efforts”.
By February 2023, we had made significant progress toward reaching our goal. At that time, I told the public that “We have some drafts left to complete and we need to get input from all of our team members as to some of the details. Then, we will be ready to meet again to finalize the entire application and the attachments. All that will be left, at that point, is to submit it to the reviewing committee of the Supreme Court of Virginia who is responsible for certifying the Veterans Treatment Court Docket in Virginia. Once approved, we will be ready to implement the program and accept our first veteran participants. All of these agencies have worked very hard to get to this point and we are very excited to be in the home stretch of this long process and look forward to providing much needed support and services to our local military veterans”.
Just last month, we had the opportunity to work with the local VFW to ensure that all veterans in our community would be recognized with military funeral honors when they passed. I stated, then, regarding assisting veterans, “This cause feels personal to me, in our community we have the privilege to interact with veterans daily. Whether it is shaking the hand of a veteran dropping his daughter of for ballet practice or meeting the newest lawyer at the Public Defender’s Office who served. In addition, as you probably know, many law enforcement officers segue their careers from the military to law enforcement. This office has gotten the opportunity to know many veterans that we have the honor of working with every day. Just as they were prepared to do anything to protect this country they are willing to do anything to protect our County. Their duty to serve constantly permeates throughout our office.”
The Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office is now humbly and very proudly able to formally announce that the VA Supreme Court has approved our application. The Pulaski County Veterans Treatment Court Docket is official and we will accept our first participants in 2024. This would not be possible without the collaborative efforts of our dedicated community stakeholders including, the judge of the Pulaski County General District Court; New River Valley Community Services; New River Valley Community Corrections; the Pulaski County Assistant County Administrator; the Office of the Public Defender; the New River Valley Regional Jail; the Virginia Department of Veterans Services; and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Special thanks to Cory Bentley of New River Valley Community Services for his willingness and constancy to forge ahead through the red tape and to Dina Branco, my Chief Deputy, who never lost sight of the ultimate goal of improving outcomes for the justice involved veterans in our community.
In closing, I am proud of this accomplishment, but vow to continue doing our part to combat the mental health and substance abuse crises that our community currently faces. This community deserves much and we welcome the challenge. We look forward to serving those who have served us.
Justin L. Griffith
Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney