District Court launches veterans’ treatment

CAMBRIDGE – The District Court in Dorchester County has launched Maryland’s first regional veterans’ treatment court, which will serve Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. The regional veterans’ treatment court will provide treatment, accountability, and mentoring to former military service members, while helping connect veterans who are involved with the justice system with the benefits they have earned.

The District Court in Dorchester County Regional Veterans’ Treatment Court is a court-supervised, intensive treatment program that assists veterans who have committed crimes as a result of substance abuse or mental illness. Through the program, veterans can resolve outstanding criminal offenses, obtain the treatment and services they need, and stabilize their lives. The goal of the regional veterans’ treatment court is to reduce recidivism and help veterans identify resources available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and local organizations.

“Sentencing is one of the most difficult and important responsibilities assigned to judges, so when appropriate, our primary goal is to rehabilitate the offender for the benefit of not only the defendant but also the community,” said First Circuit Administrative Judge Brett W. Wilson and Dorchester County District Judge Melvin J. Jews, presiding judge for the regional veterans’ treatment court. “Now, as we encounter more men and women in court who have served our country, particularly over recent decades, it is time for us to respond with court-ordered and supervised treatment and services to serve the particular needs of our veterans, just as they have served all of us to ensure our safety and freedom.”

John P. Morrissey, chief judge of the District Court of Maryland, said, “I commend Judge Jews for his commitment to ensuring veterans in these locations receive the proper treatment when they are involved with the criminal justice system.”

The Circuit Court for Prince George’s County and District Court in Baltimore City offer dockets specifically for veterans. Since 2015, these programs have served approximately 120 veterans.

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