December 20, 2014

Lawmaker to re-introduce veterans courts proposal

A state legislator is again offering a proposal to create a veterans court treatment program for eligible veterans going through the state’s court system.

Representative Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City)

The program would be like drug courts, that challenge eligible accused persons to complete drug treatment programs or go to jail, but it would utilize veterans treatment programs.

Representative Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) says many veterans who wind up in the court system are suffering from issues related to their service.

“Our veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of their service in combat deserve our help. They’re exhibiting these signs that they’ve got these problems and haven’t received treatment. We need to make sure they get that help … we owe it to them because of their service to our country, and in the end it’s going to save taxpayers money and reduce crime.”

Barnes says some of the crimes committed by veterans could serve as warning signs of things that could happen later.

“It’s an attempt to get those folks when they’re showing … it wouldn’t be the first warning signs, but it would be the first signs that can be addressed through the criminal justice system, and taking care of the problem right then rather than waiting ’till it’s an even bigger problem.”

Barnes has re-filed a bill to create veterans courts that passed out of the House in the 2012 session but stalled in the Senate after being assigned to a committee.