Tippecanoe County adds Veterans Treatment Court
LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Indiana is giving Tippecanoe County the chance to help veterans behind bars.
The Veterans Treatment Court is designed to rehabilitate veterans who are in jail due to untreated wounds directly related to their service.
Those who worked to bring the program here can’t wait to get started.
Ask Judge Sean Persin what he would change about the criminal justice system, and he’ll tell you.
“I wish we had more time for each one of the defendants that came through,” Persin said.
That’s why he’s supervising the Tippecanoe County Veterans Treatment Court. The state won’t let him give more time to every defendant, but it has made an exception for those who spent time serving the United States.
“They raised their hand and swore to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies and if necessary to give their life to protect our Country,” said Tim Hilton, the program’s mentor coordinator.
All too often, war injuries or traumatic experiences cause veterans to turn to crime.
“Addiction, many started with pain medication and now are using other substances and then often times we see some mental health issues, post-traumatic stress disorder,” Persin said.
This program is equipped to handle all of that.
“We’re going to get the specialists involved, both through the VA and through local providers,” Persin said.
Tim Hilton said he hopes other veterans, step up.
“Kind of help and guide them through the process, you know, be able to allow the participant to kind of confide in them, questions that they may have that they may not want to ask the judge or they may not want to ask lawyers,” Hilton said.
He said it’s like being a war buddy. Sometimes getting back on track is the toughest battle. But nothing is more rewarding than helping someone make it out alive.
“I look forward to the day, whether it’s a year from now or two or three where we start having veterans that are graduating from our program and are really proud about the accomplishments they’ve made,” Persin said.
Persin and Hilton have been trying to get this court off the ground for two years.
Now that it’s approved, they can’t wait to help some veterans.
“They get their life back, and that’s what it’s all about,” Persin said.
If you are a veteran or know someone who may qualify to participate or help with this program, more information can be found by contacting the VTC Administrator, Jennifer at 765-423-9280 or at email@example.com.
For the mentor program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.