Crist Veteran Treatment Court Bill Becomes Law

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) released the following statement announcing that his bill, the bipartisan Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act, has become law.

“With this new law, thousands more Veterans across the country facing the criminal justice system will have an alternative to jail time, ensuring they get the treatment they need,” said Rep. Crist. “Our local Tampa Bay Veteran’s courts have been a lifeline for so many, and were the model for this legislation. The funding and resources being made available under this law will go towards standing up many new Veterans programs, and expanding current ones.”

After serving our country, too many veterans experience mental health issues, substance abuse, and homelessness, which can often land them in the criminal justice system. Veteran treatment courts provide the counseling, care, and support veterans need to help address these challenges rather than sending them to jail.

Crist, alongside Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY), first introduced the Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act in November of 2017, after witnessing firsthand the life-changing impact veteran treat court programs can have on veterans in communities like Pinellas.

Now that the legislation is law, the Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act will establish a program within the Office of Justice Programs at Department of Justice, in coordination with the VA, to provide grants, training, and technical assistance to help state, local, and tribal governments develop and maintain veteran treatment courts.

Last month, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, Congressman Crist was also able to secure $30 million for Veterans Treatment Courts in the Commerce, Justice, Science funding bill, legislation which was included in the latest Appropriations funding package that passed the House last week. This record funding goes hand-in-hand with the Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act.

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