MISHAWAKA, IND. – In an effort to help address the needs of veterans returning home from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam, Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today attended the St. Joseph County Veterans Treatment Court and awarded the first certificate to Wayne Kuritz, an Air Force veteran, for successfully completing the program.
Established in November 2013, the court oversees low-level felonies committed by veterans to help treat the root causes of the offense with services such as mental health care and drug counseling. It also requires cooperation from the community, the veterans’ association, and different organizations that can assist veterans with drug and mental issues.
“When our nation’s soldiers return to civilian life, oftentimes, they have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury or severe emotional problems that can lead to criminal behavior. Instead of going to jail for minor offenses, this court provides treatment. Those brave men and women absolutely deserve our thanks and support,” Walorski said. “Instead of incarcerating our veterans, the St. Joseph Veterans Court under the direction of Judge Miller is providing individuals with a second chance at success. I am grateful for her dedication to helping our local heroes and our community.”
Certain court charges are excluded, such as murder, child molestation and most violent crimes. A veteran with drug charges or other minor charges related to non-violent crimes will be assessed to determine what services he or she would need. St. Joseph County is among 11 counties in Indiana that have a veterans court.
Click here to download the image of Walorski presenting Kuritz with his certificate.
Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.