Extending a Helping Hand to Veterans
Images of our veterans who return from their tours of duty missing limbs or being wheelchair-bound are heart-wrenching.
Many veterans also return from duty with scars and trauma that cannot be seen. Post traumatic stress and other mental illnesses often go undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or untreated. When this happens, veterans who are suffering these illnesses may turn to self-medicating with alcohol or drugs. Some become suicidal.
Most often, these veterans did not have a criminal history before their tour of duty. Most of them served in a combat zone, deployed in multiple tours and received the Purple Heart. Many are now homeless, unemployed and disconnected from family. And many have neither applied for benefit assistance nor sought any form of help through the Cincinnati VA Hospital, even though they are eligible for services.
As Municipal Court Judge, Melissa Powers worked to develop Hamilton County Veterans Court to bring the multitude of the services and resources from our community to the courtroom – to assist veterans with mental health care; drug and alcohol abuse treatment; medical, housing, transportation, educational and employment resources; and veterans’ benefits.
To date, Veterans Treatment Court has helped many veterans. Those who graduate from the program have a significantly lower recidivism rate than those who are untreated. Graduates become productive members of our community and are often grateful that they received the care and attention of the court – the care and attention they deserve for their sacrifice and service.