Court program coming to help veterans divert criminal justice system

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Winona County, MN (WXOW) – Minnesota governor Tim Walz announced in January his support for improving treatment services for veterans in the state’s court system. The announcement comes at a great time for those in the state’s Third Judicial District.

Veteran’s Court, like drug or treatment court, targets a specific group of people and gives them extra resources to break the cycle recidivism.

The district, which includes 11 counties like Houston and Winona, will launch the program soon. It is designed to meet the needs of veterans who may be dealing with extra issues leading to their crimes. Those in the program will have a mentor during their time, whow is also a veteran, to help through the process and be able to relate more with the hurdles they face.

“…In a program that they are more familiar with in terms of, ‘Okay there is somebody there who is supporting me, who’s served in the military and knows what I’m going through’,” Winona County Attorney Karin Sonneman said. “As opposed to some of the rest of us who hasn’t had that military service.”

The program not only helps steer veterans out of the prison system while they get help, it connects them with additional services in the 11 counties that they may not know about otherwise.

The program has a small roll out on March 1, but won’t officially launch until October 1.

Courtroom at the Winona County Courthouse.
Jeremy Culver

Jeremy Culver

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