Small Announces Effort to Expand Veterans Treatment Courts

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BUFFALO, NEW YORK - Today Amber Small, Democratic Candidate for State Senate in the 60th District of New York, announced her plan to pursue expansion of Veterans Treatment Courts across all of New York State. The announcement comes as Small took a tour of a Veteran’s Treatment Court in the city of Buffalo yesterday and witnessed  proceedings.  Small will push to replicate this model statewide, including the creation of Veteran Treatment Court hubs across New York State.

Through the Veterans Treatment Court, prosecution and defense function in a non-adversarial role to protect the public while also rehabilitating veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and corresponding legal and social woes including criminal charges, lack of housing, and lack of ability to re-integrate into the community after bravely serving our country. The Veterans Treatment Court initiative has been shown to have up to a 45% reduction in crime, a significant drop in recidivism rates, and to save the taxpayers up to $27 in prison and criminal court expenses for every dollar invested in the program.

“Our state cannot put a price on veterans’ safety and rehabilitation.  The cost savings for this type of program are really just incidental - the real benefit to our society is the successful rehabilitation of veterans who suffer from mental health and substance abuse issues through no fault of their own. They have sacrificed for all of us- the least we can do is provide support for them in their hour of need,” said Small

Small’s devotion to this cause is as personal as it is political.  Small’s brother is an Operation Desert Storm and Gulf War veteran who has faced his own challenges after returning home. Had a Veterans Treatment Court been available to him, he may have had an easier time transitioning back into civilian life.  

“I do not want to see a single veteran in New York suffer,” she explains. “All veterans across New York State deserve the utmost care, respect, and opportunities to rehabilitate.  Veterans should not have to be privileged enough to live in one of the 17 jurisdictions which currently operate Veterans Treatment Courts in order to get the services they deserve. This is why I am advocating for the expansion of Veterans Treatment Court services statewide.”

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Small serves as the Executive Director of the Parkside Community Association. In this role she is an advocate for 2,500 residents, working to enhance their quality of life through crime prevention, traffic calming, fair housing advocacy and more.  Amber also serves on the Board of Directors for B-Team Buffalo and proudly serves as Vice Chair of WEPAC, a nonpartisan group focused on increasing female involvement in politics and government. Amber is a graduate of the University at Buffalo, and resides in North Buffalo’s Parkside neighborhood with her family. New York's Sixtieth Senate District is located wholly in Erie County and includes the communities of Tonawanda, City of Tonawanda, Kenmore, Grand Island, Hamburg, Orchard Park, Evans, Brant, and the City of Buffalo.  Small is endorsed by the Democratic Party, the Working Families Party and the Women’s Equality Party.