Posted by Heather Rutz on Sep 26, 2017
Ohio justice advocates for veterans' courts.
Rotary can help advocate for a cause near to Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy’s heart: veterans’ courts.
A specialized docket in a county or municipal court makes available services to veterans they have already earned, Kennedy told the group Monday.
The idea is taking hold across the country, and in Ohio there are 18 veterans’ courts. Such a court would use existing resources to pair veterans with supports, such as mental health or addiction services, similar to how Allen County’s drug court works now. The rationale is two-fold, Kennedy said: First, veterans have already earned these services, by virtue of their service to the country, and second, many veterans find themselves in legal trouble because of mental health and substance abuse issues related to their service.
Veterans are self-medicating to deal with things such as depression, physical pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and they find themselves in the criminal justice system, Kennedy said.
The idea originated with a Buffalo, New York judge who was noticing an increase in veterans in his court. He began pairing them up with veterans who worked in the legal system to develop wrap-around services.