Specialty courts are court systems that focus on solving problems through mandated treatment and probation supervised by the court. They have been adopted by criminal justice specialists and policy-makers to handle specific behavioral crimes related to mental health and dependency on drugs to reduce high cases of indigenous offenders, avoid re-occurrence of crimes and decongest prisons. Although specialty courts have a similar objective to the traditional judicial system, they attempt to handle problems differently and respond to the unique needs of every offender. Examples include indigenous courts, drug courts, domestic violence courts, veteran courts and mental impairment courts (Russell, 2014). The system of specialty courts is designed with the intention of minimizing recidivism, reforming habits of the participants and allows the court to participate in the process (Cavanaugh, 2010). In this regard, this paper will give a classic example of veteran courts.

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Veteran courts involve a collaborative process of prosecutor, judge, Veteran Affairs Department, defense counsel and community-based organizations. It is meant to restore and rehabilitate justice-involved defendants who at one time served in the military. The court establishes and supervises treatment procedures that can correct the underlying cause of committing an offense. Some of the issues addressed include anger issues, drug abuse, stress disorder, domestic violence and alcohol abuse. By dealing with the cause of involvement in crime and developing a suitable rehabilitation program, the institution gives veterans another chance to be advantageous members of the society (Russell, 2009).

Victims are also expected to commit to changing their habits. In fact, when they agree to participate in the rehabilitation and treatment process, they avoid being taken to prison. They are then introduced into a therapeutic environment, a program that is both empathetic and crucial to initiating change. Veteran courts allow peer support groups to connect with participants to improve efficiency. As opposed to the traditional system where participants are isolated, veteran courts allow interaction with the public. The association is encouraged because the process aims at ensuring that the participant restores a good relationship with relatives (Russell, 2009). They are also given an opportunity to train and work to earn certificates and degrees.

According to Russell (2014), the system has been effective because zero of the graduates redo the offenses that got them involved in the judicial system. This is encouraging especially when one contrasts it to the traditional legal system where offenders released from jail still have a high tendency of committing the same crimes. Indeed, recent research has indicated that veterans respond better to veteran court system given that their experience in the military is different from the public. Success stories have evidenced that participants do not re-offend. Instead of jailing an individual, the structure ensures veterans meet their commitment to the court, themselves, family, and community at large (Cavanaugh, 2010). However, just like other institutions, veteran courts have their challenges and failures. For instance, corruption has slowly infiltrated the system, as contracts are not awarded based on merit. Indeed, some have observed that the Veteran Affairs Department assigns contracts illegally to surgeons and physicians charged with malpractice and revoked licenses. It has implicated issues of fraud, waste, and abuse. To this end, the situation needs to be fixed, that is, ineffective employees and illegally appointed staff should be fired.

Despite the loopholes, veteran courts have been successful in fulfilling their mandate. The program is intense and makes veterans accept their crime, be open to change and respond positively to rehabilitation programs such as drug addiction, alcohol addiction, psychological counseling and follow-up treatment (Yerramsetti et al., 2017).

Cavanaugh, J. M. (2010). Helping those who serve: Veterans treatment courts foster rehabilitation and reduce recidivism for offending combat veterans.  New Eng. L. Rev.,  45, 463.
Russell, R. T. (2009). Veterans treatment court: A proactive approach.  New Eng. J. on Crim. & Civ. Confinement,  35, 357.
Russell, R. T. (2014). Veterans treatment courts.  Touro L. Rev.,  31, 385.
Yerramsetti, A. P., Simons, D. D., Coonan, L., & Stolar, A. (2017). Veteran treatment courts: A promising solution.  Behavioral sciences & the law,  35(5-6), 512-522.