As published by CNBC
By 2018 every circuit in the Illinois court system will be required to have a veterans treatment court. With over 750,000 veterans in Illinois, the new veterans treatment courts will be an important step in the right direction of helping our veterans. But as part of the new law, the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts is requiring each of these courts to be certified as a problem solving court prior to hearing cases.
Planning for, obtaining certification and implementing a veterans treatment court requires resources and personnel and that can be hard to come by, especially in rural areas where need for these courts are high and resources are limited. With the additional certification layered on by the AOIC, it is clear that courts, particularly in rural areas, will need help in order to comply with the new law. And the state is providing no additional resources to help the courts obtain the requisite certification.
The John Marshall Law School’s Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic is taking the lead in Illinois to help the courts and the state’s veterans. This summer, the Veterans Clinic’s Public Interest Law Initiative and New Sector Alliance Fellows studied the experience of Williamson County as it tried to get the very first rural veterans treatment court up and running. What they found is that, despite, the law’s good intentions, the weight of the AOIC’s regulations, may be a high bar for rural courts. They created a series of guidelines to help rural courts comply with the law and get much-needed veterans treatment courts up and running.
The report “Illinois Veterans Treatment Court Mandate: from Concept to Success” was published in the most recent issue of The Simon Review of The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.
The first rural vets court should roll out in 2017.