Veterans Justice Initiative (VJI)

Veterans Justice Initiative (VJI)

Championing Compassionate Care for Veterans in Crisis

Veterans Justice Initiative (VJI) seeks to avoid the unnecessary criminalization of mental illness, substance abuse, and incarceration of Veterans by ensuring eligible Veterans, in contact with the criminal justice system, have access to mental health and substance abuse services in the community, as well as from State and federal agencies. The Independence Fund is partnering with local other non-profits, state and federal agencies, and local and state governments to develop, execute, and assess a pilot program in North Carolina.

In partnership with the State of North Carolina through the No Veteran Left Behind Act, The Independence Fund will help an initial pilot program of six North Carolina counties in helping local law enforcement develop robust and alternative ways to approach veterans in crisis when they first enter the criminal justice system. We aim to intervene with Veterans far earlier in the criminal justice process, such as at the initial 911 call or the first contact with police. Programs such as training police on how to best deal with Veterans in mental health or substance abuse crisis, identifying additional state and federal resources to help local communities best respond to Veterans in crisis, and partnerships with other organizations, we hope to deescalate and decriminalize these early experiences with the criminal justice system and see if alternative routes can be taken to traditional law enforcement responses.

If you are a Veteran or know of a Veteran who needs help navigating the justice system, substance abuse issues, or mental illness, reach out to our VJI team at


Your donation gives Veterans, their families, and Caregivers a better SHOT toward independence.