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Big Island Veterans Treatment Court Celebrates 11th Graduate

Posted on Nov 13, 2018 in Featured News, News & Reports


Judge Melvin Fujino standing with Big Island Veterans Treatment Court’s 11th graduate in the Kona courtroom, military flags behind them, 11/05/2018.

Judge Melvin Fujino congratulates the Big Island Veterans Treatment Court’s 11th graduate at the program’s graduation ceremony in Kona, November 5, 2018.

The Big Island Veterans Treatment Court celebrated the success of its most recent graduate with a ceremony on November 5, 2018 in Kona. A total of 11 veterans have now graduated from the intensive court-based treatment program, which opened on the Big Island in November 2014.

November is the month our country recognizes the service of U.S. veterans with Veterans Day and a variety of community events. The Judiciary extends a special thanks to those veterans who now serve as volunteer veteran mentors in the Veterans Court programs in each judicial circuit. The veteran mentors come from every branch of the military and understand the difficulties men and women can face after leaving the service. The support they provide participants throughout the process of recovery is integral to the program’s success.

Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrably higher rates of co-occurring posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, pain, and substance use disorders (SUDs), than the general population. Often, these issues are compounded by family strife, unemployment, and homelessness, which have, in some situations, led to incarceration.

The Veterans Treatment Court takes a holistic approach to help restore veterans’ health, families, and futures, while also saving taxpayer dollars.

Each veteran undergoes extensive treatment and counseling, including frequent urinalysis, meetings with probation officers, and court appearances. Many services rendered to these veterans are provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at no cost to the state of Hawaii.

A 2016 study published by the Community Mental Health Journal found that veterans who participate in veterans treatment courts experience significant improvement in housing, relationships and social connection, overall functioning and well-being, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, and mental and emotional health.

For more information on the Big Island Veterans Treatment Court program call (808) 443-2201.