As a Vietnam veteran, I have experienced, first hand, the horrors of battle and the trauma it inflicts on brothers and sisters in uniform. But in the work I do to establish new veterans treatment courts around the state, I am seeing the lives of hundreds of service men and women returning from battle with PTSD and other disorders transformed from despair and depression to hope and redemption.
Veterans’ treatment courts have been central to these lives turning a corner for the better. Started in 2008, these courts, which allow veterans that have committed low-level offenses a chance to pursue an 18-month program of treatment and rehabilitation and have their cases expunged, are working! With success rates ranging from 85 to 98 percent, these courts are giving to veterans who had taken a turn for the worst – crime, addiction and down the path to suicide – a second (or third) chance for a better life. All while adding an extra measure of public safety through close supervision and effective rehabilitation.