HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Leaders within the state's criminal justice system want to give veterans convicted of non-violent crimes a chance to get back on the right track. That's why several agencies are hosting a day-long Veterans Treatment Court conference on Friday, February 9 at UAH's Charger Theatre.
You might not realize there's help for our veterans inside the Madison County Courthouse.
"Why every jurisdiction doesn't have one for veterans is beyond me," US Attorney Jay Town said.
Here in Madison County, we have Veterans Treatment Court.
"They're diversionary courts that allow veterans who are low-level, first time offenders, nonviolent offenders to have their prosecutions diverted," Town explained. "Not only do we provide them whatever treatments they might need whether it be mental health, addiction treatments, things like that, but we also have mentors who help them retrieve the benefits that they are due, that they are owed."
Town said he hopes every jurisdiction in Alabama welcomes in Veterans Treatment Court. That's why his office, and several other agencies, are hosting the special conference.
"Educating them on ways that they can get funding for it, how they can maintain it, how sort of "turn-key" veterans treatment courts can be," Town said about the conference's goals.
Town said he knows how easily people, especially wounded military members, can fall victim to addiction.
"Typical marine might think it's okay to take twice as many pills because they'll heal twice as fast then by the end of the week, they're addicted to heroin," Town said while giving an example of how addiction begins.
Town doesn't want that to be the end of a veterans' story. Those organizing the veterans treatment courts conference want to give military members every opportunity to defeat their battles.
Town said they have seen lots of success with the veterans treatment court on the local level. Friday's conference begins at 8:30 a.m.
The main topic is showing the importance of veterans court, and it's ability to improve public safety. The day includes several keynote speakers and a panel of leaders in the state's court system.