The US Department of Justice (DOJ) estimates that there are about 140,000 veterans in American jails today. More than half of these veterans have substance abuse problems, and a quarter were inebriated at the time of the violation that landed them in prison. Experts say many are “self-medicating,” countering the strains of their service, PTSD, emotional stress, mental fatigue, survivor guilt, and/or family disruption with drugs or alcohol. Recognizing that many veterans are in need of treatment, not incarceration, many courts focus on providing a rehabilitation model, a shift supported by the DOJ. North Carolina is home to one such treatment court that recently opened in Harnett County, and other court districts in the state are hoping to secure funds to open these specialized courts in their districts.

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