The Veterans Treatment Court, which is located in the Putnam Supreme and County Courthouse in Carmel, opened on Tuesday, March 21, according to officials from the New York State Unified Court System.
The new court is meant to help any veterans who have been charged with felonies and may be suffering from addiction, mental health issues, or any other combat-related disorders. Instead of conventional prosecution and incarceration, the court will instead offer substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, and other customized services, officials said.
To do this, the court will work with the US Department of Veterans Administration (VA), veteran services providers, probation organizations, and other entities to address the unique needs of veterans who face criminal charges.
These veterans will also be assigned peer mentors who are military veterans that will help them readjust to civilian life.
Those eligible for the Veterans Treatment Court will be veterans who are not considered a threat to public safety and are willing to comply with conditions imposed by the court. Referrals for the new court can be made by town and village officials, defense counsel, prosecutors, clinicians, and veteran service agencies.
The court will be presided over by Judge Joseph Spofford, who also presides over the county's Drug Treatment Court.
"Putnam County Court is proud and honored to provide a Veteran’s Treatment Court to those men and women who have served our nation in the armed services," Spofford said.
He continued, "We recognize, appreciate, and are thankful for the service and sacrifices that each of you have made to protect and ensure our freedom. This court is committed to providing our veterans with all resources available to provide for their recovery."
The Veterans Treatment Court will be led by a partnership between the Ninth Judicial District, the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office, the local defense bar, the US Department of Veterans Administration, and local service providers.
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