San Joaquin County is trying a new approach for veterans who have committed minor crimes. February will mark the first time Veteran’s Treatment Court will take place in the area.
Veteran’s Treatment Court will be a collaborative effort that fuses justice and treatment together.
“This is San Joaquin County's first ever veteran's treatment court. It is a hybrid court of the mental health court, DUI court, and homeless court,” Virginia Wimmer, Deputy Director Veterans Services of San Joaquin County told FOX40 Friday.
San Joaquin County Veterans Services and other area leaders have been pushing for a special kind of trial for veterans for the past five years.
“To just get them back to the straight and narrow and to help assist them in whatever benefits they may need,” she said.
Wimmer added the court will be tried just like any other starting in February only difference will be the punishment. The judge will give the defendant specific goals and assign them to a mentor for a year-long treatment.
“It's mostly about rehabilitation. It is about connecting those veterans to the benefits that they deserve,” Wimmer said.
She claimed those veterans who have PTSD, mental illness, and substance abuse problems… and have committed minor crimes will have a chance to have their case heard. But what Veteran's Court won't be dealing with are major crimes such as arson, murder and felonies.
“Any crime that involves major bodily injury or any felony that's not a good fit for this court,” Wimmer explained.
Veterans Services of San Joaquin County told FOX40 that veterans treatment court will take place every month and runs just like any other courtroom. Clients can either be referred by a judge, attorney or public defender.