(CBS) – New Jersey is kicking off a pilot program targeted to help veterans and active duty personnel who run afoul of the law.

The two year Veterans Pilot Initiative is set up in Atlantic County. Jewish Family Services is being contracted, at a state cost of $100,000, to evaluate those who, after serving overseas wind up before a judge for one reason or another.

“Many of them have come out of Iraq and Afghanistan with real needs,” New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow says. “Substance abuse problems, sometimes mental illness, other ailments, anger management that need attention.”

The idea is to provide alternatives to just locking these veterans up. Eligible offenders will be offered treatment programs and counseling in lieu of incarceration. Should this program work well, Dow would like to see it taken statewide.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060

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