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Shaheen Introduces Bill To Strengthen Veteran Court Programs

Joe Gratz
Flickr Creative Commons

Senator Jeanne Shaheen has introduced legislation that aims to help the Veterans Administration support veterans' courts.

The Veterans Justice Outreach Act would codify the support that the VA already gives to veterans' courts. That support comes in part in the form of case managers, who work as liaisons for veterans in the local courts and jails.

Through these courts, military veterans accused of non-violent crimes can be diverted away from jail and towards treatment programs.

Shaheen says some veterans get in trouble with the law because of problems that stem from their military service, like PTSD.

“So looking at ways that we can support them that keep them out of the criminal justice system and help them get back on their feet, become productive citizens again, is something that I think most people agree is what we should be trying to do,” Shaheen says.

New Hampshire has two veterans courts—in Nashua and Lebanon—and work is underway to set up a third in the North Country.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Shaheen says she’s hopeful the committee will pass it out favorably. 

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered and Writers on a New England Stage at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer/announcer/host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.
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