May 22, 2010

Sentencing Alternatives for Veterans

One county over from where I live, there is a special Veterans Court which offers a second chance to current and retired service members who commit crimes while struggling with war-related psychological wounds, notably PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. The aim being to identify and treat veterans before they get deeper into trouble with the law and their crimes become serious and violent.

The defendants accept treatment and regular monitoring in lieu of jail time however if they don’t comply with the conditions of their treatment program they land in jail as the judge can revoke the suspended or reduced sentence they received. Anyone with half a iota of common sense, should realize this is a huge step in the right direction.

I come from a correctional background, working in a jail and seeing veterans incarcerated without the proper treatment they need is a national disgrace. I was embarrassed to be a part of a system that couldn't pull it's head out of its ass for veterans yet offered Sentencing Alternatives and multiple treatment options for Sex Offenders.

There are barely twenty veterans courts around the country, a woefully inadequate number yet still encouraging when compared to two years ago when the first one was started in Buffalo, NY.

The Buffalo court has had a zero recidivism rate, surely those kinds of results and the potential tax dollar savings will encourage more of these courts to spring up around the country.

I stumbled across this PBS News Hour Veterans Suspected of Crimes Swap Guilty Pleas for Rehabilitation report I thought was worth sharing.

1 comment:

  1. Funny you should say so, just wrote an email to the people on the leading edge of Combat PTSD. Two of these people helped that court start. You can find them here, somewhere, this website is messy...too much of everything on the front page!

    Supposedly I have a young researcher learning about my website. Whats that supposed to help with? OMG, I am so suspicious. I was told it was for an interview with PBS for a podcast? Really, all that trouble for that? A Podcast?


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