HARRISBURG – Today the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Senators Mike Regan (R-31) and Doug Mastriano (R-33) that would promote Veterans Courts in Pennsylvania.
Veterans Courts are optional and emphasize a team-focused approach. Veterans come before judges on a regular basis and receive mentorship from fellow Veterans. Additionally, they are supervised by specialized probation officers and receive treatment and support from the Veterans Administration to address underlying problems often caused by post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI). These courts have seen great success with extremely low recidivism rates here in Pennsylvania and across the nation.
Senate Bill 976 would formally place Veterans Courts into state statute, encourage counties that do not have a Veterans Court to collaborate with other counties that do, and allow counties that have a Problem Solving Court to adjudicate Veterans through a “Veterans Track.”
The first Veterans Court in Pennsylvania was established in Lackawanna County in 2009. Since then, 24 additional counties have created these special courts.
“As Chairman of the Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, I held six Roundtable Discussions this past year on the serious issue of Veterans Suicide,” said Senator Regan. “Throughout each of the Roundtables we heard how successful Veterans Courts have been – not just in preventing repeat offenders but getting Veterans back on their feet with mentors and accountability.”
“I served our country for 30 years, and many of those three decades were spent in foreign countries,” said Sen. Mastriano. “Not a day goes by when I don’t think about a fellow brother or sister who came home and had difficulty acclimating themselves to civilian and work life. Veterans Courts will help provide our American patriots with the stability they need when they come home.”
SB 976 now heads to the full Senate for consideration
CONTACT: Nate Silcox (Sen. Regan), 717-787-8524 firstname.lastname@example.org
Scot Pitzer (Sen. Mastriano), 717-787-4651 email@example.com