Lawton wants special courts for vetsWisconsin legislators may be asked next year to create special courts for veterans where non-violent offenders can avoid prison by getting the treatment they need.
By: Gil Halsted, Wisconsin Public Radio
Wisconsin legislators may be asked next year to create special courts for veterans where non-violent offenders can avoid prison by getting the treatment they need.
Growing numbers of veterans are having trouble with mental health, drugs and alcohol.
And Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton says many judges favor the idea of veterans’ courts which are similar to drug courts where offenders must prove they’re getting treatment to avoid jail.
In Madison this week, Judge Robert Russell of Buffalo, N.Y., talked about the veterans’ courts he developed. He says the program links veteran offenders with mentors who’ve also been in the military.
Since January, Russell says the program has saved New York State $12 million in Medicaid and social service costs.
Lawton says Wisconsin can follow the same course, save money and put more veterans into productive roles more quickly.
She hopes lawmakers can find room for this in the next state budget.