The St. Charles County court system this year implemented a new program to help veterans who have committed a crime stay out of further trouble.
Court officials say the idea behind the new veterans court came after they noticed several repeat offenders who served had no criminal history before their service.
They say the veterans committing serious crime, such as drug abuse and domestic violence, had been dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries as a result of their military service.
The program, which started in January, matches the defendants with veteran mentors, who line them up with treatment programs through the VA hospital.
“Sometimes they can white knuckle sobriety but they don’t ever make the step to reintegrate so they’re just one traumatic event - girlfriend breaking up, losing a job—from spinning out of control again,” said Judge Philip Ohlms, the St. Charles County associate court judge with the drug and veterans court.
The veterans court is modeled after a similar one in St. Louis.
Ohlms says they’ve seen an outpouring of support from other veterans who want to give back and help mentor their peers going through this program.