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Wisconsin courts, justice system partners respond to veterans

Madison, Wisconsin - November 10, 2011

On Veterans Day, we honor more than 22 million veterans who have served our nation in the armed forces, including more than 400,000 veterans from Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin court system appreciates their service and is responding, along with other justice system partners, to address the unique difficulties faced by some veterans who become involved with the court system upon their return home.

Veterans may be challenged with physical injuries, psychological trauma, depression, substance abuse or other mental health issues. It is important to address these underlying issues, which may be contributing in some fashion to illegal behavior.

The veterans’ initiative in Wisconsin is a comprehensive effort that involves collaboration and cooperation among many people: judges, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, law enforcement officers, county board supervisors, state and federal veterans officials, local county veterans service officers, social workers, treatment professionals, probation and parole officers and others.

The Rock County Circuit Court launched Wisconsin's first formal veterans court program in 2009, but many other circuit courts have followed suit, including Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Iron, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Pierce, Rock and Waupaca counties. The list continues to grow, and courts and counties throughout the state continue to look for innovative, collaborative ways to respond to veterans in the court system.

This week, Brown County announced the opening of the Northeast Wisconsin Veterans Treatment Court, which is intended to serve veterans throughout the Brown, Oconto, Marinette, Door, Kewaunee, Outagamie and Waupaca counties. Chippewa and Eau Claire counties collaborated to develop the Chippewa Valley Veterans Court. Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth counties are collaborating on the development of a district-wide treatment court. Some counties have undertaken additional efforts. Waupaca County, for example, has established a legal assistance program for veterans. 

Each of these veterans programs focuses on early identification of potential issues in order to connect a veteran with appropriate services as quickly as possible. Each program also shares a commitment to addressing public safety and recidivism by focusing on the treatment needs and risks of each veteran. 

The Wisconsin court system is proud to be a partner in helping serve veterans who have served us all.
For more information, visit: wicourts.gov/services/veteran/index.htm

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