Missoula’s Veterans Treatment Court in Jeopardy, Advocates Plead for Funding
It appears that Missoula’s Veterans Court is in jeopardy if a federal grant isn’t approved soon. Larry Anderson serves as a volunteer mentor for veterans in the specialized court, and says the current funding is running thin.
"We will probably run out of money within the next month or so," Anderson said. "We have not been able to take on new participants so we have a waiting list of probably 15 veterans that are currently probably incarcerated while they are waiting to get in to this program. We are only able to serve six. If we were fully funded, we could probably fund between 15 to 25 veterans."
More and more veteran’s courts have appeared across the country since Missoula started one, they are designed to help vets navigate not only the criminal justice system, but also service-related issues like PTSD and traumatic injury. As federal and state funding runs low, Anderson said court advocates have asked Missoula County commissioners for help, but were rejected.
"The county turned us down even though they signed off on the jail diversion master plan," Anderson said. "They don't want to participate even though they signed the master plan agreement. They had an amount in there, I think on page 53 of that plan, that they would commit $48,000 to pay for testing costs and that sort of thing."
Now Veterans Court representatives are turning to Missoula City Government for help, Anderson says they are asking for about 42,000 dollars to pay for a court coordinator between September and December. Anderson believes the court will actually helps save the community money in the long term by spending less on incarceration costs.