Heroes Come Home: New specialty court for non-violent veterans

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MILWAUKEE -- Post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and mental illness are some issues causing veterans to find themselves on the wrong side of the law after military service. A new specialty court has been created that could help veterans to avoid jail time.

On Wednesday, December 5th, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm talked about what kind of influence military service can have on a person.

"The experiences they gain from the military are overwhelmingly positive. When they leave the military, they can often take unexpected, negative turns," Chisholm said.

Chisholm said it's important to recognize the trauma some veterans face when trying to readjust to civilian life.

Through a new specialty court, veterans who are charged with a non-violent crime could avoid a conviction if they successfully complete a program that includes counseling with mentors from the county and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"It's the right thing to do, it's the safe thing to do and it's the most effective thing to do," Chisholm said.

Nathan Handle and Joshua Dieter found themselves on the wrong side of the law after developing addictions to pain medications. They say a similar program helped save their lives.

"To me, this was the best thing that could've happened to me. I want to give back and help others that are suffering from addiction,"

Veterans who are charged with violent crimes, sexual assaults or gang-related activities are not eligible for the new specialty court.