Butte Veterans Court marks anniversary with new graduates, new mentors
The Butte-Silver Bow Veterans Treatment Court celebrated its two-year anniversary Tuesday with two new graduates, two new mentors and an extended federal grant to keep everything going for another year.
“Seventy percent of people that complete treatment courts do not re-offend,” said Mike Clague, a Navy veteran, prosecutor and court team member. “They do not get involved in the criminal justice system again.
“So treatment courts work, and we know as a veterans treatment court, because of our veteran mentors, our success rate is going to be much higher,” he said.
Dozens of people attended the ceremony in District Judge Robert Whelan’s courtroom. Whelan and Butte City Court Judge Jerome McCarthy oversee the court’s cases and a team of prosecutors, veteran mentors, mental-health and addictions counselors, coordinator Susanne Clague and others make it work.
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Veterans courts across the country have proven successful in helping veteran offenders address addictions, mental-health problems and often co-occurring disorders. Fifteen offenders have been in Butte’s court, and seven have graduated since it started two years ago.
In Butte, a screening committee identifies veterans who might benefit from the program and as part of