Since its inception in 2011, Judge Ethna Cooper has presided over the Hamilton County Felony Veterans’ Treatment Program. The first Veterans’ Treatment Court in the country, this program is a voluntary, court-supervised treatment collaborative, whose goal is to help address the issues that led to a veteran's contact with the criminal justice system. In order to qualify for the program, veterans must plead guilty to their offense and be willing to receive treatment. While in the program, the veteran will work with a treatment team to identify goals that the veteran will work toward. These goals encompass a wide array of issues that include, but are not limited to; trauma-related treatment, returning to school, job-skills training, counseling, employment, substance-use treatment, medication compliance, reconnecting with family, strengthening supports in the community, accessing benefits, and securing safe and stable housing.
Along with meeting with their treatment team, the veteran will make regular court appearances before Judge Cooper to ensure that they are complying with the terms of their initial agreement. This program generally takes two years to complete and participants may qualify for diversion, meaning that successful completion of the program may result in a dismissal of the original charge.
The daughter of a World War II combat veteran, Judge Ethna Cooper is no stranger to the difficulties of post-war adjustment for those who have served. For Judge Cooper, this program is a way to better our community, while honoring the memory of her father and giving back to those who have sacrificed for our nation.
Since the program began, Judge Cooper has presided over 64 successful graduates from the program.