580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Newly launched veterans court helps former military service members on lower Eastern Shore
“This program is about serving the community and veterans.”
The District Court in Dorchester County has launched a regional veterans treatment court to address the needs of former military service members in Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties who have committed crimes as a result of substance abuse or mental illness.
“The Judiciary is dedicated to implementing effective programs that expand access to justice and court-related services for all Marylanders,” said Mary Ellen Barbera, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland. “The regional veterans treatment court will address the needs of Lower Eastern Shore veterans who are involved in the justice system, providing the best opportunity for these veterans to become sober, law-abiding residents who strengthen their families and communities.”
“Four counties worked together to make this program possible,” said John P. Morrissey, Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland. “I commend Judge Jews and Judge Wilson for their efforts to bring the veterans court program, which has been successful in other jurisdictions, to the Lower Eastern Shore.”
“Chief Judge Barbera and Chief Judge Morrissey have emphasized the need for courts to play a role in problem solving locally,” said Dorchester County District Judge Melvin J. Jews, presiding judge of the regional veterans treatment court. “Their leadership empowered me to help establish the veterans court in this area.”
Veterans in this court-supervised, intensive treatment program will receive assistance in resolving outstanding criminal offenses and obtaining the tools and resources necessary to stabilize their lives. The District Court in Dorchester County’s goal with the regional veterans treatment court is to reduce recidivism and help connect veterans on the Lower Eastern Shore with resources available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and local organizations.
“We are going to provide veterans wrap-around services ranging from health treatment to substance abuse treatment and employment and family resources,” Judge Jews said.
“This program will educate veterans on the services that are available to them in the hope of helping them get their lives back on the right track,” said Dannette Johnson, a veterans justice specialist with the VA.
The regional veterans treatment court is also collaborating with the VA to assist former military service members through the VA Mobile Vet Center. The 40-foot mobile counseling center will travel to communities throughout the Lower Eastern Shore to provide outreach and referral services.
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(July 27, 2018)