US District Court to begin program for veterans
Pennsylvania federal court officials today announced the launch of a new system for reintegrating veterans into society after they run afoul of the law.
The Veterans Treatment Court will kick in as soon as defendants are identified as veterans. Federal prosecutors, judges, public defenders and probation officers would work together to get the veterans help before they are convicted and later once they serve their sentences, said U.S. Attorney David Hickton.
The help will involve determing whether some aspect oftheir military service contributed to them committing a crime.
"Men and women who have given so much to our country are increasingly finding themselves entangled in the criminal justice system due to mental health and substance dependency issues that relate to their military service," Mr. Hickton said in a news release describing the program. "Through the Veterans Treatment Court, we will be better able to address readjustment and reintegration for justice-involved military veterans."
U.S. District Chief Judge Gary Lancaster designated fellow federal judges Mark Hornak and Kim Gibson to help develop and operate the program.
The same federal court agencies have, in the past month, discussed publicly a similar, two-year-old Rise Into Society Effort, or RISE Court, designed to give intense supervision and help to offenders with substance abuse problems.