Why is Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) good for you?
You will get more resources and more support in this court. The expected duration is
approximately one year. This is not a “get out of jail free” card. You will, however, be
provided with many resources to help you get the treatment you need.
Are you a veteran?
Honorable, other than honorable and all other discharges we will consider by a case by
Are you suffering from issues relating to mental health or substance use?
VTC exists to get help to those veterans who need it. You should have a mental health or
substance use disorder, even if not diagnosed yet, AND you should want to get help
the disorder. VTC is completely voluntary and participants should want to get treatment.
What are your criminal/traffic charges?
The Treatment Team will consider many things when determining your eligibility. You must
have pending charges against you from Van Wert Municipal Court in order to come into
What is the Treatment Team?
The Treatment Team of the VTC is chaired by Judge Jill T. Worthington. The Treatment
is responsible for the daily operations of VTC. The team also includes the VTC Probation
Officer, Veterans Justice Outreach Coordinator, Van Wert County Service Commission
Representative, Assistant City Prosecutor, Defense Counsel, Peer Mentor Coordinator,
VTC Program Coordinator, Westwood Behavioral Health Court Liaison and any other people
the Court decides are helpful in providing resources to the participants. The Treatment
Team is responsible for determining eligibility and for designing and monitoring your
treatment plan. The VTC Treatment Team meets twice a month prior to the VTC sessions.
You have the right to have your defense attorney present at the portion of the Treatment
Team meeting that concerns you.
What is a Peer Mentor?
One of the unique features of the VTC is the pairing with a Peer Mentor. A Peer Mentor
is a person who has similar life experiences. In most cases, the Peer Mentor will be a
fellow veteran. In addition to providing camaraderie and veteran to veteran support,
mentors assist with housing, employment, transportation, disability compensation claims,
contesting discharge status, and connecting veteran participants with services available
to them at the local, state, and federal level.
A Peer Mentor will be assigned to you. You should regularly meet with your Peer Mentor.
The meetings should be casual and at the convenience of both of you. The meetings could
consist of getting a cup of coffee to check in. You should consider this Peer Mentor as
someone you can talk to about how things are going and to ask about resources if you
need something in particular. The Peer Mentor will not be able to directly provide resources
to you, but they can point you in the right direction and make sure you’re staying on
Building Trust with Mentor
Confidentiality helps build mentor and mentee trust; therefore, the need for
confidentiality is crucial. Communication between mentor and participant (mentee) must remain
confidential, within certain guidelines, if the mentoring process is to be successful. This trust,
once established, leads to more truthful discussions between the mentor and mentee. This same
sense of confidentiality allows the mentor and mentee to communicate freely without fear
that the information discussed will be shared with others.
In the Veteran Court setting, discussions between the mentor and mentee are to be held
in strictest confidence. However, there are circumstances where information can be
For example, information can be shared with anyone with whom the mentees grant prior
permission to share such information. With permission of the mentee information can be
shared with the Veterans Court Team, the Mentor Coordinator, or mentors involved in
mentoring the mentees. Sharing information without the mentee’s permission is a breach
of confidentiality and must not be done. There are topics that must be shared without
permission of the mentee: (a) Discussions relating to plans to harm themselves i.e.
suicide. (b) Discussions relating to plans to harm someone else. These must be brought
to the attention of the Veterans Court Team immediately
What if I Do Well?
The Court wants to see you succeed. The Treatment Team is here to help you accomplish
The Court will also recognize those who are doing well.
Incentives may include:
Praise from the Judge
Less restrictive reporting
Reporting to VTC sessions less frequently (but no less than once a month)
Other incentives that the Treatment Team deems appropriate
What if I struggle?
Many people struggle with substance use and/or mental health issues. You are not alone.
If you feel yourself struggling, reach out to your mentor, treatment provider, or the
Treatment Team. If you do fail to do what you’re supposed to do, as required by the
Court, the Judge may order sanctions against you.
These sanctions are not meant as a punishment, but in place to best help you.
Sanctions may include:
Additional treatment sessions
Reporting to the Court more frequently
Termination from VTC
Periods in jail
Filing a community control violation
As clinically appropriate
What happens at termination?
There are four different discharges for termination in VTC: 1) successful discharge, 2)
neutral discharge, 3) unsuccessful discharge, and 4) as this is a voluntary program,
a participant may opt out at any time.
The judge has the discretion to determine termination.
Successful termination is graduation from VTC.
Neutral discharge would happen in situations where there is a serious medical condition
that would prevent you from participating in VTC or if you voluntarily withdraw from the
program prior to officially entering into VTC.
Unsuccessful discharge may happen if you are regularly noncompliant with treatment or
other requirements by the court, get a new criminal conviction, or get probation
violation(s). An unsuccessful discharge could result in additional charges/probation
violation(s), or jail time.
If a participant voluntarily opts out of the program, he/she will be removed from the
VTC, and in all likelihood, be placed on probation. When a participant opts out because
he/she has not followed the orders of the VTC, a probation violation may be filed.
I want to join VTC. Now What?
You should talk about joining VTC with your lawyer to make sure this is the right choice
for you. If you decide to join VTC, the Treatment Team will screen you for eligibility.
If found to be eligible for the VTC, most participants will enter the VTC following a
finding of guilt. However, admission to the VTC sometimes occurs after a defendant has
been placed on probation and may even be available with a deferred finding (for example,
a defendant may still be referred and placed into the VTC after first being placed in
Court’s Alternatives program). If you have questions about what this means, you should
talk to your attorney prior to entering the plea. The judge shall have discretion to
decide if you are eligible for the VTC.
There will be legal eligibility and clinical eligibility that the Treatment Team will
look at when determining your eligibility into VTC. The criterion given does not create
a right for you to participate in VTC.
If you are found to be not eligible or you choose to not enter VTC, you will be referred
back to your assigned judge. You will not be denied admission into VTC based on race,
color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age,
marital status, veteran's status, or any disability.
Upon entry into VTC, you will be instructed to do an assessment and begin treatment. All
treatment will be reported back to the Treatment Team for supervision.