PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A veterans’ court is now up and running in Montgomery County to more effectively address the needs of members of the military who find themselves in the criminal justice system.
The new court is modeled after the county’s Behavioral Health Court that handles defendants with mental health issues. A defendant would have to meet specific requirements in order to be accepted into the court which would then connect that veteran with treatment and support services through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Former State Representative Bryan Lentz, who is also a veteran, has been a strong advocate for veterans courts.
“I’ve been in veterans court and seen defendants stand up a little straighter and change their demeanor when they’re asked about their prior and recognized for the fact that they are a veteran has a huge impact on them,” Lentz said.
Lentz said many veterans returning to this country from overseas, especially those in combat, have substance abuse and trauma issues that need to be addressed in a special court to get them back on the right track. The court anticipates handling non-violent offenders.
Reported by Suburban Bureau Chief Brad Segall, KYW Newsradio 1060