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Veteran’s Treatment Court holds inaugural session

The 19th Judicial Circuit of Alabama held the inaugural session of the Veteran’s Treatment Court on Sept. 17 at the Chilton County Courthouse.

The Veteran’s Treatment Court is a collaborative project between the 19th Judicial Circuit Court of Alabama, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Chilton County Chapter 33 of the Disabled American Veterans and the Office of the Public Defender.

According to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, 1.16 million or nearly 10 percent of all adults arrested in 2009 have served in the military.

The goal of the Veteran’s Treatment Court is to divert this specialized population of veterans who are charged with non-violent felonies and misdemeanor crimes away from jail and as an alternative placed into appropriate rehabilitative programs.

The Veteran’s Treatment Court Program is open to all veterans who are eligible to receive services from the Department of Veteran Affairs, have been vetted through the district attorney’s office and reside or have been convicted of a crime in Chilton County or other participating counties.

Veterans in the program must attend regular status conferences in court, participate in the development of their treatment plans, and engage in community groups as required by their treatment plan. After completion of the program, which could be 12 months or more, prosecution for the offense will not proceed and the charges against the veteran will be dismissed.

At the inaugural session, presiding judge Ken Snow, a Marine veteran who will oversee the veteran’s court, thanked the project’s partners for their dedication in assisting justice-involved veterans. Many of these partners have served in or have a direct connection to the armed forces.

Veteran’s Treatment Court will be held every month with the next date scheduled for Dec.10 at 8 a.m. at the Chilton County Courthouse.

For more information on the Veteran’s Treatment Court Program or to become a court mentor, contact the Chilton County Chapter 33 of the Disabled American Veterans at (205) 282-4027.