WHAT: A court hearing during which Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow will petition Chief Judge Gerald Kinney and Circuit JudgeCarla Alessio Policandriotes to establish a specialized Will County Veterans and Servicemembers Court to assist local veterans who have struggled with mental health and substance abuse issues since returning home from military operations.
WHEN: 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 16 2012
WHERE: Will County Court Annex
57 N. Ottawa St.
Joliet, IL 60432
DETAILS: Judge Policandriotes will enter an order establishing the court and will identify the first veteran who will be accepted for this court. Cynthia Ketcham, Superintendent of the Veterans Assistance Commission of Will County, also will be in attendance.
Photography will be allowed during this special court hearing.
In our Nation, an estimated 550,000 veterans under the age of 25 suffer from substance abuse and associated mental health disorders as a result of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, many veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have been increasingly involved in the criminal justice system.
In granting authority to the local courts to provide for the treatment of our veterans and servicemembers the Illinois General Assembly has declared (730 ILCS 167/5):
“The General Assembly recognizes that veterans and active, Reserve and National Guard servicemembers have provided or are currently providing an invaluable service to our country. In so doing, some may suffer the effects of, including but not limited to, post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression and may also suffer drug and alcohol dependency or addiction and co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse problems. As a result of this, some veterans or active duty servicemembers come into contact with the criminal justice system and are charged with felony or misdemeanor offenses. There is a critical need for the criminal justice system to recognize these veterans, provide accountability for their wrongdoing, provide for the safety of the public and provide for the treatment of our veterans.”
Accordingly, the Will County Veterans and Servicemembers Court will:
- Assist veterans with honorable or general discharges or current members of the military who suffer from mental illness, mental disorders and/or substance abuse disorders as a result of having served in a combat theater or in support thereof.
- Offer an inter-agency, collaborative, non-adversarial treatment strategy for veterans in the criminal justice system.
- Provide each affected veteran with a network of state and federal Veterans Affairs Departments in conjunction with social and legal aid agencies to assist with his or her specific issues.