Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

July 8, 2014 at 1:13pm

Thurston County Veterans Court celebrates anniversary with speaker series

Recommend Blog Post
Total Recommendations (0)

In July the Thurston County Veterans Court will mark its five-year anniversary and in order to commemorate the milestone month, the public is invited to join in the celebration each Wednesday in July during the normal, weekly Veterans Court proceedings. Special guest speakers, Veterans Court staff and Veterans Court graduates and their families will be on hand throughout the month.

When the Thurston County Veterans Court program was introduced in 2009, it was the eleventh such program in the nation and the first in Washington. Since then, veterans court programs have grown and there are now more than 160 nationwide.

"I feel we have an obligation to servicemen and veterans, to help them," said Staci Coleman, Veterans Court Program Manager. "This is our chance to give them an opportunity to heal, get back on their feet and resume being engaged and productive community members."

Thurston County Veterans Court combines rigorous treatment and accountability to veterans and active duty military personnel with legal troubles. It offers a chance at rehabilitation to veterans who, due to service-related mental health issues, find themselves facing legal charges; cases pertaining to sexual crimes or illegal use of weapons are not eligible.

The Veterans Court is an alternative court, which means that the defendants have the option to accept treatment and regular monitoring in lieu of jail time or in exchange for a reduced sentence; if they do not complete the outlined program, the defendant's reduced sentence can be revoked. Participants sign a contract to complete the voluntary 18-24 month program, which combines ongoing judicial supervision and intensive monitoring with input from a multi-disciplinary team of professionals led by the judge.

"We're trying to build a bridge between our civilian justice system and the military," Coleman stated.

Over the last five years, Thurston County Veterans Court has had 43 participants, 24 of which have successfully graduated the program. There are currently another 10 who are in the process of completing the program.

The Thurston County Veterans Court also recently launched a volunteer mentor program to connect established veterans with program participants in order to provide help, guidance and advocacy via a peer. Mentors can be graduates of the program themselves.

Thurston County Veterans Court is funded by the county's Treatment Sales Tax, which was established in January 2009. The one-tenth of one percent sales tax raises about $4 million annually in Thurston County to support Veterans Court, as well as other therapeutic courts.

"It's important for the community to see their tax dollars used successfully and this is a great example," she said.

Veterans Court Graduate Casey Turner and Volunteer Mentor Program Coordinator Casey Wegner will speak July 9; and Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza July 16. Speakers are still being sought for the last two Wednesdays as of right now.

All presentations will take place at 4 p.m., prior to the regular court proceedings, at County Courthouse Building Three, District Court, 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW in Olympia. Guests are welcome to stay throughout the court cases but seating is limited and will be handled on a first come, first serve basis.

To learn more about Thurston County Veterans Court, go to www.co.thurston.wa.us/distcrt and select the "Veterans Court" tab.

Filed under: Veterans, Community, Military,
comments powered by Disqus

About this blog

News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

Recent Comments

Walkie Talkies said:

Thanks for posting! But I want say that Walkie Talkies are really required while organizing fun...

about COMMENT OF THE DAY: "low brow’s" identity revealed?

Humayun Kabir said:

Really nice album. I have already purchased Vedder's Album. Listening to the song of this album,...

about Eddie Vedder’s "Ukulele Songs" available today - and I don’t hold a candle to that shit

AndrewPehrson said:

Your post contains very beneficial content. Kindly keep sharing such post.

about Vote for Tacoman Larry Huffines on HGTV!

Shimul Kabir said:

Vedder's album is really nice. I have heard attentively

about Eddie Vedder’s "Ukulele Songs" available today - and I don’t hold a candle to that shit

marble exporters in India said:

amazing information for getting the new ideas thanks for sharing a post

about 5 Things To Do Today: Art Chantry, DIY home improvement, "A Shot In The Dark" ...