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Bills would bring Veterans’ Courts statewide

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A York County veteran voiced her support for creating veterans’ courts statewide at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Marine Corps vet Kristy Wills says the York County Veterans’ Court saved her life, after struggling with addiction. She spoke at a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda in support of two bills that would bring the courts into every county.

“I lost everything as a result,” of addiction, she says. “Jobs, cars, my family, a home, my fiancĂ©, my beautiful baby girl. Not to mention my self worth and my sanity.”

Veterans’ courts are voluntary programs in which nonviolent veteran offenders can opt to plead guilty and enter a treatment program.

Senator Rob Teplitz (D) introduced Senate Bill 517. York, Lancaster and Dauphin counties all have veterans’ courts already.

“Veterans’ Court here in Dauphin County is actually even more progressive than the ones contained in our bills,” says Teplitz. “It’s been very successful and has had a zero recidivism rate.”

For those who say the bills are too lenient, Teplitz points out that veterans are required to pay for the treatment themselves.

Both SB 517 and House Bill 887 have been introduced and are awaiting review in the Judiciary committees.