The 19th Judicial Circuit of Alabama held the inaugural session of the Diversionary Veteran’s Court on September 17, 2015. The Veteran’s Court is a collaborative project between 19th Judicial Circuit Court of Alabama, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 33 and the Office of the Public Defender.
According to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, 1.16 million or nearly 10% of all adults arrested in 2009 have served in the military. The goal of the Veteran’s Court is to divert this specialized population of veterans with mental illness who are charged with non-violent felonies and misdemeanor crimes away from jail and into appropriate rehabilitative programs.
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. After completion of the program, prosecution for the offense will not proceed and the charges against the veteran will be dismissed.
At the inaugural session, Presiding Judge Ken Snow, 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.
The Veteran 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.
Veterans Court is held every month at the Chilton County Courthouse.
For more information on the Veteran Court Program or to become a court mentor, please contact the Chilton County Chapter 33 of the Disabled American Veterans at (205) 282-4027.