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Friday, 19 October 2012 10:28

Governor signs veterans treatment court bill

(AREA) -- Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation this week to create veterans treatment courts in Michigan. State Representative Kurt Damrow of Elkton says the courts will help veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are self-medicating their invisible wounds with drugs and alcohol. Public Act 335 will create a standardized model and structure for veterans courts in the state. These problem-solving courts will be a hybrid of drug treatment courts and mental health courts, steering veterans who have committed crimes into treatment for mental health and drug use problems instead of immediately incarcerating them at the state or local level. Several of these courts are already operating in Michigan. The first veterans treatment court was established in New York in 2008. Representative Damrow says the key to a successful system is early recognition of those veterans who are likely candidates for court assistance.

PICTURED: State Representative Kurt Damrow discusses his legislation on veterans treatment courts during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee in May. Joining Damrow, from left, are Lino Pretto of the Military Order of Purple Heart and Representative Wayne Schmidt.