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Wilco Looks Into Creating Veteran Courts

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 10:47 PM CDT

Long after our troops come home, the trauma and stress suffered in a war zone remains -- and if left untreated it can lead to several other problems.

"We have a lot of veterans in Williamson County and a lot of veterans going through the judicial system," says Donna Harrell, Williamson County' veterans service officer.

35,000 veterans call Williamson County home and Harrell is one of the proponents of creating a veterans court in Williamson County.

"Veterans court is basically not a room -- not a veterans courtroom -- it is a veterans docket where they hear cases that are only involving veterans," says Harrell.

The veterans court would focus on drug and alcohol related misdemeanors.

"We're just investigating the possibility of instituting one in Williamson County. We haven't made any decisions, but if we did it would be to help the veterans that have suffered traumatic injury or some sort of mental illness brought upon by their service to their country," says County Commissioner Lisa Birkman.

Harrell says veterans would be eligible to take part in a year, to year and a half long program.

It would include counseling and treatment for issues including post-traumatic stress disorder.

Harrell says, "At the end of it, they have come out of it hopefully free and clear of the demons that plagued them and got them into trouble in the first place."

The program would cost anywhere from $160,000 to $300,000, mostly in grant money.

By Lydia PantazesWilco Looks Into Creating Veteran Courts


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