Great Falls News

Nov 12, 2013 10:27 PM by Claire Anderson - MTN News

Veterans Court opens in Cascade County

GREAT FALLS - The 8th Judicial District Court in Great Falls held a special dedication ceremony in honor of the new Veterans Court on Tuesday afternoon.

Community members, judges, and justice department employees filled the courtroom to honor the new program aimed at helping military veterans in the court system.

341st Missile Wing commander Colonel Robert Stanley, Cascade County Attorney John Parker and judges from nearby counties showed their support for the program.

Judge Greg Pinski and organizers are aware of the difficulty behind the program, but they know it will make a difference for those that fought for our country.

"It's different in the sense that the veteran offenders who are part of the veterans court have different needs than the participants in the adult treatment court. Chief among the differences are veterans suffer in higher numbers of traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, and other health conditions that require different treatment," said Pinski.

David Belcher, a veterans court participant, is excited and thankful a program like this was offered to him rather than more jail time.

"For me I'm grateful to be here, it's a second chance for me to prove the community that it is successful and it's a good opportunity for me and I'm going to be successful for the other veterans to show that this is a good program," said Belcher.

Four veterans are currently enrolled in the program, and directors are hoping to enroll at least 10 this year.

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