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Veterans Court launched in Dauphin County - abc27 WHTM

Dauphin County

Veterans Court launched in Dauphin County

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Dauphin County launched Veterans Court on Friday. It's designed to get those who have served the help they need instead of sending them to prison.

Many veterans who have served in previous wars suffer from post traumatic stress and other mental health disorders. Others suffer from drug and alcohol addiction.

Veterans Court will refer vets to a treatment program that will run at least 270 days.

Dauphin County judge Bruce Bratton is a Vietnam veteran who helped get the program started. He said Veterans Court is not a free pass. It's an opportunity to give those who served a second chance.

"I was lucky in my own life, but I had a lot of help and I had a lot of veteran friends that helped me deal with my demons coming home," he said. "And we're trying to take a more official role for those charged with a crime."

They wasted no time getting the program up and running - the first case was tried Friday morning. A woman who served in the Navy was facing several DUI charges. She was sentenced to a minimum of 270 days in that treatment program.

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