HARRISBURG – Today, the Senate unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Regan (R-31) that would promote Veterans Courts in Pennsylvania.
Veterans Courts are optional for Veterans and emphasize a team-focused approach. Veterans come before judges on a regular basis, receive mentorship from fellow Veterans, are supervised by specialized probation officers, and receive treatment and support from the Veterans Administration to address underlying problems often caused by post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI). These courts have seen great success with extremely low recidivism rates in Pennsylvania and across the nation.
Senate Bill 976 would formally place Veterans Courts into state statute; encourage counties that do not have a Veterans Court to collaborate with other counties that do have a Veterans Court; and allow counties that have a Problem Solving Court to adjudicate Veterans through a “Veterans Track.”
The first Veterans Court in Pennsylvania was established in Lackawanna County in 2009. Since then, 24 additional counties have created these special courts.
“As Chairman of the Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, I held six Roundtable Discussions this past year on the serious issue of Veterans Suicide,” said Sen. Regan. “Throughout each of the Roundtables we heard how successful they have been — not just in preventing repeat offenders, but getting Veterans back on the feet again with mentors and accountability.”
SB 976 now heads to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
CONTACT: Nate Silcox, 717-787-8524 or firstname.lastname@example.org