Boone County’s 13th judicial circuit court is seeking funding for the possible addition of a veterans alternative sentencing program.
By Elizabeth Trovall (Columbia, Mo.)
If the program is added, law-breaking veterans would receive alternative sentencing that would take into consideration the challenges veterans face as they adjust to civilian life. A large part of the alternative sentencing would include a mentorship program in which offending veterans would be assigned a veteran mentor to assist in their rehabilitation. At a public meeting in Boone County Commission Chambers Friday veterans advocates spoke overwhelmingly in favor of the program. Keith Widaman is the President of the Mizzou Student Veteran Association. He says he’s happy to see steps taken to legally recognize the challenges veterans face as they reenter civilian life.
“Carrying a gun and aggressive driving, actions like this protect your comrades in arms and when you come home sometimes these things carry over because they are deeply embedded in the marine, soldier, whoever it may be,” Widaman said.
13th Judicial Circuit’s Judge Christine Carpenter says it would be at least six months before seeing the program on its feet. The next step the court is taking is to apply for federal grant money through the Bureau of Justice Assistance to help fund the project.