Veterans court begins in St. Paul; program to help vets get lives back in order

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A new program launching in Ramsey County Thursday is aimed at helping veterans who've committed nonviolent crimes get their lives back in order, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

Known as veterans court, the program serves veterans who suffer from emotional and mental health issues, as well as chemical dependency and employment issues connected to their service, the Star Tribune said.

The program is aiming to keep veterans from returning to jail, and connecting them with resources including counseling, health care and benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office said the veterans court will serve 25 vets at a time. The court will convene once a week with two rotating judges.

According to MPR, veterans charged with misdemeanors will be required to attend the program for nine months, while those charged with gross misdemeanors or felonies will be expected to attend it for a year.

Those chosen for the program are required to stay sober through the process.

The veterans court will be funded the next three years with a $350,000 federal grant and $118,000 from the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office.

Hennepin County implemented its veterans court in 2010.

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