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 (DOJ) 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 Veterans Treatment Court Grant Program provides financial and technical assistance to states, state courts, local courts, units of local government, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments to implement or enhance the operations of VTCs. These courts effectively integrate evidence-based substance abuse treatment, mandatory drug testing, incentives and sanctions, and transitional services in judicially supervised court settings that have jurisdiction over offenders with both addictions and a history of violence related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of their service.