About Us


Program Description

Shelby County Veterans Court was the first court in Tennessee to launch a Veterans Court.   The program provides a means to divert eligible veteran participants from the traditional criminal justice system and provide them support and rehabilitation through comprehensive substance abuse and/or mental health treatment; education; vocational programs; and community resource referrals for housing, childcare, and transportation, all while being judicially monitored.

Veterans Court (VC) is a made up of an extensive collaboration of dedicated partners, including criminal justice, federal veterans’ agencies, and local community veterans’ organizations.  The target population includes military veterans who have been charged with criminal offense(s) and who are identified with substance dependency, serious mental health issues and/or other issues which may be amenable to treatment.

The Shelby County Veterans Court has adopted -- with slight modifications -- the essential tenets of the Ten Key Components of drug treatment courts, developed by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), and adapted by Buffalo’s Veterans Court.  They are the following:

  1. Veterans Court integrates alcohol and other drug treatment services with justice system case processing.
  2. Using a non-adversarial approach, prosecution and defense counsel promote public safety while protecting participants’ due process rights.
  3. Eligible participants are identified early and promptly placed in the Veterans Court program.
  4. Veterans’ courts provide access to a continuum of alcohol, drug, and other related treatment and rehabilitation services.
  5. Abstinence is monitored by frequent random alcohol and other drug testing.
  6. A coordinated strategy govern the Veterans Court responses to participants’ compliance and provides a common operating plan for treatment providers and other VC personnel.
  7. The Judge is the leader of the Veterans Court team.
  8. Fundamental to the effective operation of veterans’ courts is coordinated management, monitoring, and evaluation systems.
  9. Continuing interdisciplinary education for all veterans’ court staff and team members promotes effective veterans court planning, implementation, and operations.
  10. Forging partnerships among treatment courts, public agencies, and community-based organizations generates local support and enhances veterans’ treatment court effectiveness.

The Shelby County Veterans Court team regularly reviews the mission statement, program goals, and NADCP key components and attends relevant NADCP training to ensure understanding of this model for treatment court programs.

This project is funded by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.