Today, six military veterans will complete their alternative sentencing program through Henderson Municipal Court’s Veterans Court as an honorable way to help them transition back into civilian life. The graduation will take place at 2 p.m. at Henderson Municipal Court, Department 1, 243 Water St.
“When I was a police officer I saw war heroes who had been awarded the Silver Star and were homeless. They were in the cycle of going to jail, getting out and then going right back to jail,” said Chief Judge Mark Stevens, who in 2011 spearheaded the effort to create the Veterans Court in Henderson.
Veterans Court is an alternative sentencing program adopted by Judge Stevens for military veterans charged with misdemeanor crimes while struggling to readjust to civilian life. Veterans Court was implemented in Henderson after the Nevada Legislature authorized the establishment of this specialty court in 2009. A military veteran himself, Judge Stevens wanted to help fellow veterans who needed a little help to get back on track. Most participants are first-time offenders of misdemeanor crimes and have issues related to their service.
"In Henderson, we are rising to meet the needs of our military heroes by ensuring that justice-involved veterans receive the benefits and treatment they have earned in a Veterans Court,” Judge Stevens said. “Veterans Court is an example of our community reaching out to help veterans in their time of need, and giving them alternatives other than a prison cell.
Veterans Court focuses on participants’ underlying issues and provides access to resources that enable successful compliance with the court’s orders. Graduates must successfully complete the program depending on any or all of the following: their treatment needs; court ordered counseling; Veterans Affairs recommended counseling, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder counseling; mental health counseling; and drug or alcohol addiction counseling.
The veteran may also be required to submit to random drug and alcohol testing, be subject to ongoing monitoring of any possible additional criminal activity and take part in a community service and work program under the supervision of the City of Henderson Alternative Sentencing Department.
For additional information on partnering with the Veterans Court program, please contact Henderson Municipal Court, Department 1 at 702-267-3350 or visit CityofHenderson.com.
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