ST. CHARLES —The Kane County Veterans Treatment Court held its first graduation ceremony on Feb. 24 at the Kane County Judicial Center in St. Charles.
According to a news release, the ceremony marked the completion of an intensive substance abuse and mental health program for Ralston (last name omitted), a combat veteran who served in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Kane County Specialty Court Judge Marmarie Kostelny served as master of ceremonies for the graduation, which included a color guard, Quilt of Valor and remarks from the graduate and his treatment team, the release stated.
Kane County's Veterans’ Treatment Court began in 2018. Specialty courts have gained national prominence as the most innovative solution for veterans caught up in the criminal justice system due to substance use and/or mental health disorders and trauma, the release stated.
A growing number of veterans suffer from PTSD and traumatic brain injury, which may be exacerbated by the loss of structure and camaraderie found in the military. Research continues to link substance use disorders with service-related mental health conditions.
Veterans with a diagnosed mental health condition or substance use disorder engage in treatment while under close supervision. Participants are required to complete all necessary treatment and are regularly and randomly tested for drug and alcohol use, and are also required to appear frequently in court for the judge to review their progress.
According to the release, research continues to show that Veterans Treatment Courts work better than jail or prison and better than treatment alone.
“It was exciting to celebrate the success of our first graduate. He has done an outstanding job in a very rigorous program. Our veterans make great sacrifices for the benefit of our nation. I am proud that our judicial system has a program designed to assist veterans who have struggled upon their return home," stated Judge Marmarie Kostelny in the release.