Colbert County set to create a Veterans Treatment Court with some guidance from Lauderdale County’s

WAFF 48s Aria Pons Reporting
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:55 AM CDT
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COLBERT CO., Ala. (WAFF) - A judge in Colbert County said the men and women who served their country should have a second chance.

That is why he is trying to start a veterans treatment court. He is taking notes from neighboring Lauderdale County, where a veterans court has been up and running for years.

As officials look to start a Veterans treatment court over here in Colbert County, just across the river in Lauderdale County one is already up and running. For around five years, officials have said the court has helped veterans who are facing low-level criminal charges.

“I don’t know that you can put that into words,” Program Director Keri Jaudon said

Jaudon runs the Lauderdale County program. The court flags veterans who have been arrested for lesser crimes and tries to help them get rehabilitated without any jail time.

“Whether it’s results of a traumatic brain injury,” Judge Powell said. “Whether it’s some sort of residual PTSD that they’re trying to self-medicate for. We address their needs and have programming resources to provide to deal with it.”

The program lasts about two years.

While Lauderdale County’s court has been around the block a few times, Colbert County’s is just getting started. Officials there said the program should be set up within the next few months. Lauderdale County Judge Will Powell said he has been over to the Colbert County Courthouse to offer advice on the model that they run.

“We are also proud that our colleagues over in Colbert County are trying to start their own veterans court over there,” Powell said. “We have advised and assisted them as they requested.”

The Lauderdale County program has seen 30 applicants and 17 of them have already graduated from the two-year program.

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