Veteran's Court - Smart Justice
The VA recognizes that that many of the Veterans who have fought in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are returning with mental health problems and great difficulty re-adjusting to civilian life. Nationally, the VA is in the process of identifying Veterans in need of services and offering treatment. However, because admitting to mental health problems is not something that comes easily for the men and women who have served, many are reluctant to ask for help and others simply do not believe they need help. As a result, often one of the first signs of trouble is when a Veteran has a brush with the law and gets charged with a crime. If elected, I will work with city, county and state officials to develop a Veterans Court similar to Veterans Courts operated in other jurisdictions which will help direct affected veterans to VA services that can help them. With successful participation in services, the goal would be to help the Veterans avoid a permanent criminal charge on their record.
The great thing about a program like this is that the mental health services are provided by the VA free of charge. All that is required for this program to work is good communication and forming a partnership with the VA to get Veterans the help they need. It would not cost Cochise County tax payers any money.
Smart Justice policies like Veteran's Court will have a real impact on Cochise County and its citizens, reducing repeat offenders, redirecting defendants to productive activities before they commit a more serious crime, and making our community a safer place to live.
Tucson is already operating a similar program and its time that Cochise County worked to help our local Veterans. For more information on Veterans Court programs please see the following links: