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Northampton County Establishes New Treatment Court Program for Veterans | WDIY Local News

Bill Oxford

Northampton County is establishing a new treatment court, this time geared toward helping veterans who enter into the criminal justice system.

County Judge Jennifer R. Sletvold, administrative judge of Problem-Solving Courts, announced last week the establishment of Northampton County Veterans’ Court.

Sletvold said in a release that the court will connect veterans, “to the benefits and treatment that they have earned and deserve.”

The new court will partner with the Veterans’ Administration and other community partners to create “an interdisciplinary team which will work together to afford each veteran the opportunity to achieve recovery and get their lives back on track, while maintaining accountability for their actions and decisions.”

It aims to help veterans who are nonviolent offenders combat substance use, mental health conditions, and the criminal activity that brought them into the justice system.

The program will provide a judicially supervised treatment program designed specifically to identify, treat, and benefit veterans. The court is also designed to address both diversionary and post-plea cases.

Northampton County Veterans’ Court is expected to begin accepting applications for admission in the fall.

The program joins the county’s Recovery Court and Mental Health Court, established in 2015 by President Judge Craig Dally. There have been 87 successful Recovery Court graduates and 100 successful Mental Health Court graduates to date, according to the release.

With the new initiative, Northampton County joins 25 other counties across Pennsylvania that have Veterans Treatment Court programs which help veterans suffering from mental health issues like PTSD, or other co-occurring, service-related disorders.

Sletvold said treatment courts are “the most innovative solution for veterans caught up in the criminal justice system due to substance use, mental health issues, and/or trauma.”

The release said these programs aim to reduce recidivism and help veterans return to their jobs and families. Participants are supervised during the court of the program, receive guidance and support from veteran mentors, and also any necessary treatment from the VA or local providers.

(Original air-date: 8/10/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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