Veterans Treatment Court Idea Gaining Steam - myfoxcarolinas.com

Veterans Treatment Court Idea Gaining Steam

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Leaders in the 25th judicial district, comprised of Catawba, Caldwell and Burke counties, are looking into the idea of implementing a Veterans Treatment Court.

“The first one was setup in Harnett County,” said James C. Gaither, Jr., district attorney. “The idea is not unique to North Carolina, it began, I believe, in New York State with a judge up there who was a veteran. He had seen veterans who had come through the court system, mostly with misdemeanors and they were suffering from a similar set of issues."

According to Raymond Cerda, who retired from the U.S. Navy more than 10 years ago, the district’s veterans need this option.

"We have a 116,000 veterans in North Carolina,” said Cerda. “Catawba County is part of the 25th District that encompasses three counties. And in those three counties, there is 27,000 veterans."

The court will seek to help veterans who have committed non-violent crimes with the underlying issues of depression, PTSD and substance abuse, among others.

The courts would give veterans the chance to participate in an 18 to 24 month counseling, mentoring and treatment sessions. If the veteran successfully completes the program, their charges can be altered or even dismissed. According to Gaither, veterans will serve as mentors for the people in the program.

At the moment, the idea is simply a proposal. The district must go through and application process to be considered for a Veterans Treatment Court.

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