Veterans from the Tri-State area will graduate from the Hamilton County Municipal Court Veterans' Treatment Program this Thursday. The program aims to divert veterans from the traditional criminal justice system to a treatment-based court, working to rehabilitate and assist veterans in leading a productive and law abiding life. The current group of veterans participating in this program in Municipal Court will be graduating tomorrow, February 13th, at 1:00pm. This event is open to the public and will be hosted by Judge Melissa Powers at 1000 Main St., Room 540, Cincinnati. Special Guest for the graduation ceremony will be U.S. Congressman Brad Wenstrup.
Ohio has over 900,000 veterans, many of them suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Melissa Powers began the program after seeing countless veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars become criminal defendants in her courtroom, mainly for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence. She wanted to help them cope with trauma resulting from their service. Judge Powers held the first Hamilton County Municipal Veterans Court on April 5, 2012.
Participants receive guidance from a treatment team, consisting of mental health specialists, pre-trial services, peer mentors, Veteran Justice Outreach Officer, probation officer, law enforcement, public defender, prosecutors, vocational rehab specialist. In addition, professional medical and psychological care providers at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center create a specific treatment plan for each veteran.