Boone County Considers Alternate Court for Vets
COLUMBIA - Judicial Officials in Boone County are considering alternate court sentencing for local veterans. The Boone County Circuit court is currently applying for federal and state grant money for the court. The alternate sentencing program would only apply for misdemeanors such as DWI's. The court would aim towards helping vets with any mental health concerns they potentially have, such as, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
22 year-old Scott Holliday is a veteran of the War in Iraq. He currently works at the University of Missouri Veterans Center, where he also is a student. Holliday stated that due to the stress of combat in a war some veterans turn to alcohol and drugs. Even though he personally believes this is the easy way out, it is just how some people handle the stress of war.
Missouri Veterans Center Director Carol Fleisher works closely with veterans. "Every soldier comes back differently from war, no matter what" Fleisher said. She doesn't want to make excuses for veterans that get into legal trouble, but she says an alternate court that understands veterans circumstances is a good idea.
Across the country, this idea of alternate court sentencing for local veterans is developing. Nearly 10,000 veterans live in Columbia and 7,000 live in Jefferson City. USAA.com ranks both cities in the small metro's top10 best places to live for military retirees.
"At least try the program out, if it doesn't work then you can take it away" said Carol Fleisher. Despite the upbeat attitude Carol and the local veterans will have to wait to see if the grant money is approved.