Commissioner Diaz helps kick off Veterans Treatment Court
Commissioner Dias speaks at the Veterans Treatment Court kickoff ceremony.
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY – Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz joined the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida Chief Judge Bertila Soto and a host of judges, other elected officials, mental-health professionals and veterans on Jan. 13 to officially launch the first Veterans Treatment Court in Miami-Dade County.
The new program will divert veterans from the traditional criminal justice system and provide them with the tools needed to successfully reintegrate back into civilian life, including substance abuse treatment, vocational training and housing from the Veterans Administration. The county began laying the groundwork for the program about a year ago with the creation of a “veterans track” as part of the county’s mental health court. A veterans court will now convene regularly.
The Veterans Treatment Court has been a top priority for Commissioner Diaz, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps. The Miami-Dade Military Affairs Board, which he chairs, committed $75,000 as the matching component for a federal grant for the program. The board worked with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Miami Veterans Health Administration, the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, and the South Florida Behavioral Health Network to make the program a reality.
“The Veterans Treatment Court is something that has been near and dear to my heart for a long time, so I’m very excited to see it get off the ground. It’s going to make a huge difference in so many veterans’ lives, and I look forward to continue advocating for our veterans in any way I can,” said Commissioner Diaz, who recently sponsored a resolution commending the Miami-Dade County Military Affairs Board for its work in creating the veterans court.
For more information on this program, please reach out to the Office of the Honorable Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez at 305-548-5405. To serve as a mentor for this program, please call Gustavo Cruz, the Director of the Miami-Dade Military Affairs Board at 305-375-4493.
Commissioner Diaz speaks with Army veteran Elliot Lovette, who has benefitted from the veterans court program.