Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Is Rock County Veterans Court worth fixing?

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Greg Peck
May 14, 2013

Some people might suggest that military veterans who have substance abuse problems and break laws deserve no special treatment.

Many veterans who have served our country return home with mental-health or substance-abuse problems or post-traumatic stress disorder. These issues leave too many slipping into lifetimes of criminal activity or homelessness.

The Rock County Veterans Treatment Court began in 2009. It doesn’t consider veterans convicted of violent or serious offenses. When veterans are screened to determine treatment needs, the court offers veterans hope that they can escape the cycle of recidivism. They’re eligible for probation on condition that they undergo treatment, attend self-help meetings and get intense supervision.

Don’t our men and women who often make great personal sacrifices during military service deserve the second chances this court can provide?

Now, Rock County District Attorney David O’Leary says he hasn’t referred a new case to the veterans court for almost six months. He’s troubled, in part, by deficiencies found in a new report. Nico Savidge reported on the situation in last Wednesday's Gazette.

What can and should be done to fix the shortcomings?

We’ll share our perspectives in our editorial Wednesday.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

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