Veterans’ Treatment Court in Catawba County is about to become a reality.
Officials with the 36th Prosecutorial District Attorney’s Office received confirmation on Monday, October 19, 2020, that Catawba County’s grant application had been accepted and approved by the Bureau of Justice Administration (BJA) to allocate funding for the establishment of the treatment court.
The grant funds awarded by the BJA’s Office of Justice Programs will be used to fund a court coordinator, court-associated operating costs, equipment expenses, program materials and drug testing. The total amount of grant funding that will be allocated is $339,323 over a period of three years.
The Veterans’ Treatment Court is scheduled to begin in April of 2021. Catawba will be the fifth county in North Carolina to have a treatment court for veterans.
Approval of the grant funding by the BJA was the final step in the process to establish the treatment court for veterans.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved District Attorney Scott Reilly’s request to submit a grant application during a meeting in April 2020. That request was aimed at securing much-needed funding to provide a support network for those veterans who struggle to reintegrate into society because of mental health and substance abuse disorders.
Members of the treatment court team then met virtually for instructional sessions in June 2020 to receive training on the implementation and operation of the court.
The Catawba County VTC team is comprised of David Aycock (judge), Kim Sigmon (clerk of court), Lance Sigmon (prosecutor), Heather Higgins (defense attorney), Tammy West (court coordinator), Jaime Arbelaez (law enforcement representative), Blake Knight (probation officer), Jack McConnell (treatment provider), Catherine Houghton (Veterans’ Affairs representative) and Cindy Travis (Veterans’ Affairs services officer).
Team members have been working to develop and refine a policy and procedures manual for the treatment court as well as a handbook for veterans who may be participants in the program.
The Catawba County VTC team continues to meet virtually to move forward with development of the court offered to aid and benefit veterans and their families.
The Catawba team will be operating under its mission statement developed for the VTC. The statement reads: “The Catawba County Veterans’ Treatment Court enhances public safety by connecting justice-involved veterans to community resources for substance use disorders, mental health conditions and social support promoting lifelong stability.”
For veterans involved in the criminal justice system who have trouble returning to civilian life and again becoming productive members of our community, the VTC will provide support and rehabilitation through comprehensive substance abuse and/or mental health treatment, education, vocational programs and community resource referrals for housing, childcare and transportation.
“It is the least we could do for those veterans and their families who once served and protected our nation,” District Attorney Scott Reilly said.
CONTACT: Nathan Key