Grant to help veterans court expand services

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A federal grant will help the Tennessee Veterans Treatment Court expand services over the next three years so that it can serve more people in Shelby, Montgomery and Davidson counties.

The court allows service members and veterans who end up in the criminal justice system to choose treatment and recovery programs instead of ending up behind bars.

The Leaf-Chronicle reports the $1.5 million grant will allow the Montgomery County veterans court to increase its capacity from 40 to 78. Much of the Fort Campbell Army post is located in the county.

In all, the grant will allow the program to serve 263 more veterans over a three-year period.

"It's much more than just a way for veterans to avoid a jail sentence," said E. Douglas Varney, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health. "This is a voluntary decision for a service member who's arrested on a non-violent offense to seek help, get into recovery and start receiving the mental health and substance abuse treatment they need."

Officials aim to help veterans find out why they engage in criminal behavior and break the cycle. In addition to assessing, analyzing and treating problems, services including job assistance are available to those who volunteer.

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