How a New Court Program Hopes to Help Returning Vets

February 9 2010, 11:23 AM

Colorado Springs has received a lot of bad press lately for its anti-tax majority's decisions to kill various, arguably necessary public services as a response to budget constraints. But thanks to federal dollars, at least one new program has cropped up in the city. A veteran's treatment court is focused on helping soldiers returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan re-enter civilian life while avoiding the pitfalls of drugs, alcohol, and violence. Westword takes a look at the innovative system, one of nearly two dozen across the country thanks to Colorado receiving "$2 million...for jail-diversion programs for individuals with trauma-related disorders, with a priority on programs for veterans." The media is filled with stories of returning soldiers inflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder, and the spotlight often shines on the Fort Carson Army outpost, just south of the Springs. Some soldiers turn to suicide, as Salon reported in a series of articles, while others become homicidal. Perhaps the most notorious case of the latter was reported by Rolling Stone, which detailed a frightening rampage of violence that claimed the lives of innocent victims throughout the Springs. But 20 percent of the state's total veterans live in Denver, where advocate Daniel Warvi "and others have been pushing to establish a veterans court program...but preliminary plans for such a program were scrapped in favor of a more modest liaison position," Westword reports, in a separate story.