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With the United States’ ongoing presence in the Middle East and the ever-present possibility of future conflict, the commitment to tend to the unique needs of veterans returning from combat is an essential one. The number of veterans suffering from mental health issues, substance abuse disorders, and physical trauma continues to rise. With this comes an increased risk of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), drug and alcohol abuse, and repeating criminal behavior, all of which increase the likelihood that veterans will find themselves involved in the criminal justice system at some point following their combat service.
Utilizing effective, reliable, and focused treatment, Veterans Treatment Courts (VTC) seek to address the unique needs that veterans face and ease this burden not only on the veterans themselves but also on their families and the communities within which they reside. As soldiers continue to return from combat zones, some for the second or third time, the criminal court system is likely to see growing trends of overdose, domestic violence, and reoccurring crime among the veteran population. Because of these challenges, it is important to determine the impact of VTCs on the community by examining how these programs may help to reduce recidivism, lower rates of IPV, and curb drug and alcohol addiction among veterans. A systematic review of the literature will reveal the available evidence on VTCs and make it more accessible to the decision makers.