WMSN FOX 47
 

FOX47 NEWS - Veterans Court in Rock County

Jeff Angileri
Jul 7, 2009, 9:51 PM


A new court program in Rock County will help veterans who are in trouble with the law clean up their act.

It is a kind of diversion court similar to drug court and juvenile court -- except here, all the defendants are military veterans.

Circuit Judge James Daley supports the idea. He is a former serviceman, having spent 15 months overseas during the Vietnam War.

Daley says some veterans are coming home physically and mentally scarred by their deployments, causing them to delve into depression and sometimes criminal behavior.

It causes long-term psychological and emotional problems down the road for the soldiers and servicemen who experienced that -- roadside bombs and that sort of thing, Daley said.

Earlier this year, Wisconsin sent off its largest national guard deployment since World War II.

The court system would mostly handle non-violent offenses. Veterans would have to attend mental health or substance abuse counseling, find and keep a job, stay sober, and get their lives back on track.

This year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services started offering grant money to communities that divert people with trauma-related disorders from the criminal justice system.

Daley says the program won't cost Rock County citizens very much money because veterans receive federal funding under their service benefits.

Rock County could have the veterans diversion court up and running by the end of July. It will serve about 100 veterans a year.

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