Christian County’s circuit judge is in the final stages of establishing a veterans court that could keep veterans guilty of crimes out of prison.
Judge Andrew Self will lead the county’s veteran court that he says should be up and running by the end of the year. Self says the specialty court will connect participants with Veterans Affairs programs in addition to keeping them from behind bars.
“They are paying taxes rather than being a burden on our tax system and still then provide them with the kind of help or assistance they need to restore their lives or get their lives back together. Because of our proximity to Fort Campbell a veterans court just seemed like a very natural connection for our community.”
Self says the veterans court is being modeled after the county’s drug court. Under the program, participants are required to regularly meet with the judge and are subject to random drug tests.
Self says many veterans struggle from a variety of issues after they return home from deployment.
“PTSD, traumatic brain injury, issues that result from their military service. We have of course a number of soldiers in recent years who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and who have been through probably for most of us unimaginable and in many cases unspeakable situations.”
Guilty veterans court participants receive probation instead of incarceration. The specialty court will also aid the transition into civilian life.