The 25th Judicial Circuit is now home to a new program for Veterans in the justice system suffering from post traumatic stress or brain injuries.
The court kicked off its new Veterans' Court program Monday morning with a good deal of patriotism and expressions of hope for the success of the program by attendees and organizers.
Judge Colin Long welcomed the crowd and explained a little about the program which is intended to serve former and current service members who find themselves in the justice system and fit the court's criteria.
The court's mission statement is "to provide veterans an alternative to the traditional criminal justice system, to utilize all available resources in order to enhance the welfare of the veteran, to encourage productive citizenship, and promote public safety."
The court is not intended as an easy way out for the veterans who enter the program, but a way to help them overcome the issues that put them there in the first place by supporting them through therapy, training, monitoring and mentoring.
The mentoring part of the program is the part of the program that Long anticipates having the most impact. While discussing the mentoring aspect of the program with the Daily Guide last year, Long mentioned how much of an impact he believed mentors could have on veteran's in the program and requested the help of local veteran's organizations to become involved in that aspect of the program.
Long said during the kick-off ceremony that he believed the creation of this court is proof of the 25th Judicial Circuit's commitment to justice.
Presiding Judge Tracy Storie told the crowd that he felt it was "appropriate" that court open the week of Independence Day because veterans should be thanked for their service and our freedom.
Storie said of Veterans' Court that "we won't cure every problem," but "we will make an effort."