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Wed Jul 29, 2020, 12:23 PM

Bill heading for White House gives veterans a second chance

A new bill on its way to the presidentís desk would give thousands of veterans a second chance after being charged with certain nonviolent crimes.

The Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act of 2019, cosponsored by 98 Democrats and 37 Republicans, directs the Department of Justice to establish a program that provides grants and technical assistance to state, local and tribal governments to develop and maintain veteran treatment courts.

Veteran treatment courts merge local judges and lawyers with law enforcement and Department of Veterans Affairs officials, veteran service organizations and other community leaders to secure the best possible outcomes for nonviolent veterans facing the legal system. The program gives veterans the opportunity to receive help and treatment instead of jail time.

Daniel Cortez, chairman of the National Vet Court Alliance, said in addition to the Rappahannock Veterans Docket, there are six other similar courts in the state. Nationwide, Cortez said there are about 700,000 veterans in some phase of the criminal justice system and there are only about 500 active veterans treatment courts available to handle the load.

Cortez, a Stafford County resident, along with members of his alliance, partnered with nearly two dozen veteran service organizations to spend much of last year lobbying elected officials on Capitol Hill to help advance the new bill, which was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist of Florida.

https://fredericksburg.com/news/bill-heading-for-white-house-gives-veterans-a-second-chance/article_6059606f-05dd-58b1-b149-1e90e983d79e.html





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