Merrillville creating veterans treatment court

FILE- A solider collects spent casings on the rifle range at Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh, Ind., Friday, Dec. 14, 2007. (AP File Photo/AJ Mast)
FILE- A solider collects spent casings on the rifle range at Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh, Ind., Friday, Dec. 14, 2007. (AP File Photo/AJ Mast)

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (AP) — The town of Merrillville is taking steps to create the first veterans treatment court in Lake County.

Merrillville Town Court Judge Gina Jones said the town of more than 35,000 residents just south of Gary has been selected to participate in training beginning in June provided by the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance and the nonprofit Justice for Vets.

Jones tells The Times the court would handle cases involving misdemeanor offenders whose actions are linked to combat-related mental issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Instead of serving jail time, offenders could be required to receive counseling and treatment to address those issues and prevent repeat offenses.

Veterans treatment courts already have been established elsewhere in Indiana, including neighboring Porter County, Fort Wayne, Evansville, Muncie and New Albany.

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