Veterans Treatment Court Celebrates its First Anniversary

Program expected to expand to the Big Island

HONOLULU, HI--Veterans Treatment Court, under the leadership of First Circuit Court Judge Ed Kubo, is marking its first anniversary. The specialized court began last year with three defendants and has now grown to ten defendants, as more attorneys submit applications for their clients to participate in the program. The defendants selected to participate in Veterans Treatment Court have all served in the U.S. Armed Forces and have experienced difficulties acclimating back into society. Many have mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, and the majority also struggle with substance abuse.

The Veterans Treatment Court takes a holistic approach to help provide the resources and treatment these veterans need to get healthy, find jobs, and return to being law-abiding citizens so they can enjoy the freedoms they fought to protect. Judge Kubo and his team have partnered with staff from US Vets and Salvation Army Addiction Treatment Services so the defendants can be evaluated and treated for mental health and substance abuse. The Court may also help these defendants find housing and receive job training.

The defendants are also paired with volunteer veteran mentors, who appreciate the difficulties these men and women face and can help support them through the process of recovery.

While under the Court’s supervision, these veterans must undergo urine analysis on a regular basis and are required to report to Veterans Treatment Court every week, unless otherwise directed by the judge. If the defendant violates the terms of the program or probation, then the defendant is subject to immediate consequences and jail time to ensure accountability.

As Judge Kubo explained to the defendants in Veterans Treatment Court, “We understand there may be relapses. The thing is when you fall, you need to be able to catch yourself. You need to know there is a support system here cheering you on and we are providing an environment where we want you to succeed.”

Because of the success of this program, the Judiciary is looking at the feasibility of expanding to the Big Island, under the leadership of Third Circuit Court Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra.

Judge Ibarra states, “The Big Island community is committed to helping our veterans. We are collaborating with various government agencies and veteran support organizations to identify how we could work together to launch a Veterans Treatment Court. Our partners support and participation is integral to the program’s success.”

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact the Hawaii State Judiciary Communications & Community Relations Office at (808) 539-4909 or email us at pao@courts.hawaii.gov.

For more information, contact the public affairs office at 808-539-4909 or via email at pao@courts.state.hi.us.

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