Economic Woes Prevent Expansion of Veterans Courts in California

California Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have encouraged more districts to create veterans courts, citing a lack of funding. The courts allow veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or substance abuse problems to receive treatment and strict probation in lieu of jail time for their crimes. In California, these courts offer treatment to veterans even if they have committed violent crimes, according to Stars and Stripes.

“While the provisions of this bill are well-intended, they create a clear expectation that our courts — already struggling with painful budget cuts — will establish a new program,” Governor Brown wrote.

The state’s judicial branch budget was cut $350 million this year. The article notes that while veterans courts are more expensive to run than regular courts, studies have shown they lead to long-term savings because they reduce recidivism rates.

In July, Gil Kerlikowske, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, announced the Obama Administration’s drug control policy will encourage support for special courts for veterans with substance abuse issues and mental illness.

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