The Nation's first drug treatment court specifically developed for veterans was started on January 4, 2008, in Buffalo, New York, by Judge Robert Russell. On September 1, 2009, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) made an award under its Drug Court Program to the newly established Buffalo Veterans Drug Treatment Court. With the success of this court and many more following, in 2013, the Department of Justice began receiving a separate appropriation for veterans treatment courts (VTCs). In 2020, Congress passed the Veterans Treatment Court Coordination Act of 2019 directing the Attorney General to establish and carry out the Veterans Treatment Court Grant Program, which is being managed by BJA.
The purpose of the Veterans Treatment Court Enhancement Initiative (VTC Initiative) is to provide veterans treatment courts and criminal justice professionals with resources needed to use research-based tools to assess risk and need of justice-involved veterans, increasing capacity to assess their needs and better connect effective interventions to reduce recidivism and increase access to critical treatment and recovery support services.