(Grand Forks County, ND) -- North Dakota's first Veteran's treatment court will begin it's pilot program beginning late this summer.
The court would see veterans who are in the criminal system and would attempt to address symptoms of PTSD, sexual trauma, and other mental or behavioral health conditions.
"Every state except North Dakota has one," said Northeast Central Judicial District Senior Presiding Judge Don Hager, "The only other state that doesn't have a veterans court is Connecticut and they have a hybrid of that."
Judge Hager says he is glad the county and state are working to implement the veteran's court. He says the program should have been in place for a long time.
"North Dakota should have been doing this. We have a large percentage of our population overall in this state - veterans who are involved in the criminal justice system, especially when they come to transition back to civilian life, " said Judge Hager, " I personally believe, as a Vietnam veteran, that this should have been done many years ago."
Judge Hager hopes the Veterans treatment court is the first of many steps to properly address a mental health crisis in the veteran community, and a catalyst to begin services closer to home.
"For in-person treatment, as of now for a veteran through the VA, they are actually sent to St. Cloud or to the Black Hills facility. We don't have an in person facility. That might still be in the works and something like this may be just be enough to act as a catapult towards doing that."
The Veterans treatment court is expected to begin fall of 2022. You can learn more about the court by clicking here.