A bill proposed by State Representative Jay Barnes was passed by the Missouri House of Representatives that could potentially create a drug court for Missouri military veterans. The bill is now in the state senate awaiting a vote.
The bill would allow a circuit court to establish a veterans treatment court to dispose of criminal cases which stem from substance abuse or mental illness of military veterans or current military personnel. The legislation allows but does not require a circuit court to establish a specialty court for veterans. Courts will maintain the flexibility to base a decision on resources, caseload and other considerations. The bill has potential to enable the judiciary to help military veterans continue their service in a civilian role.
Special courts currently exist for drug and alcohol offenders. These courts guide defendants from addiction to recovery through counseling rather than incarceration. This could be especially helpful for military veterans that may suffer physical and mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their service, which can sometimes lead to illegal activity.
Military veterans who have served our nation and suffer consequences as a result deserve a fair chance to be healed. You can support this bill by calling your state senator and showing your support.