In honor of the Veterans’ Court graduation and the recently celebrated Veterans’ day, the Rancho High School Color Guard will present the flags of the five major branches of the armed services (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard) to the Eighth Judicial District veterans’ court on Monday, Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. in courtroom 3F at the Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Ave. A ceremony will honor the military service of the veterans. The flags will remain on display in Presiding Specialty Court Judge Adriana Escobar’s courtroom.
Since Sept. 2012, the veterans’ treatment court has helped veterans who are facing criminal charges as a result of substance abuse. Veterans’ court is one of several Eighth Judicial District specialty courts that save millions of tax dollars by averting repeated incarcerations due to substance abuse offenses and related crimes. There are currently 32 active participants in veterans court and 48 graduates since 2012.
“We recently celebrated Veterans’ Day as a reminder of the sacrifices our military service people make. This flag ceremony acknowledges and respects their service and marks the achievement that our graduates make as they get their lives back on track,” said Judge Adriana Escobar who presides over the specialty courts.
The Eighth Judicial District Court recently received and began using a $1.4 million grant from the State Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) to work to end the cycle of addiction and crime through residential treatment for 80 participants, including veterans. There is a desperate need for residential substance abuse and mental health treatment in Clark County. Residential treatment with wraparound services offers judges a viable sentencing alternative to jail-time. It is an approach that has proven to have better outcomes than punitive sentencing.
Veterans’ courts are hybrid drug and mental health courts that use the drug court model to serve veterans struggling with addiction, serious mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders. They promote sobriety, recovery and stability through a coordinated response that involves cooperation and collaboration with the traditional partners found in drug and mental health courts and agencies including the Veterans Administration, the Las Vegas and Henderson veterans’ centers and Choices Group.
Specialty courts solve issues through a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Parole and Probation, law enforcement and mental health/social service/treatment professionals. All work together to help participants recover, live crime-free and become productive citizens. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals reports: “nationwide, 75 percent of drug court graduates remain arrest-free at least two years after leaving the program. Drug courts reduce crime as much as 35 percent more than other sentencing options.”