LANSING —Van Buren County has decided to create a new court that would combine treatment for drug abuse and mental health issues for Michigan’s military veterans, said Sen. John Proos.
“We owe our freedoms to the men and women who put their nation before themselves and bravely fought to protect our country,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “One way we can honor America’s heroes is to support them when they struggle. Michigan’s Veterans Courts help veterans struggling with addiction and mental illness, such as post-traumatic stress, which are conditions that are often a direct result of their service.”
Under Public Acts 334 and 335 of 2012, a circuit and district court can establish a veterans treatment court that is a hybrid of the current drug and mental health courts.
Van Buren County will join nine Michigan counties that already have veterans courts, including Calhoun and Allegan counties.
“As the Senate chair for the Judiciary budget, I was proud to secure $500,000 this year specifically for counties to operate veterans courts,” Proos said. “I applaud Van Buren County for taking this step to help our veterans, and I hope other counties follow their lead.”
Proos has been active in creating new, efficient ways to address and treat offenders. He initiated the “Swift and Sure” program, which allows county court systems to set up programs of sanctions on eligible probationers.
“Like the Swift and Sure program, these courts are about better outcomes and less cost,” Proos said. “They focus on recovery over punishment. The courts help veterans through troubled times by treating the symptoms instead of just punishing the individual — while also maintaining public safety by prohibiting violent offenders from using the system.”
Counties interested in initiating a veteran’s court of their own can contact the State Court Administrator’s Office at (517) 373-0128.
Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Sen. Proos are available on the senator’s webpage at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”