Advocates for veterans in the North Country are working with state and local law enforcement agencies and the court system to create a court diversion program for veterans.
The diversion program will attempt to keep some veterans accused of non-violent crimes from going to jail. It’s designed to help veterans treat the underlying problems that cause them to have run-ins with police.
Dave Canter is co-chair of Vet-to-Vet, a peer support program for veterans in Gorham. He says this is not a "get out of jail free" card.
"The first thing that has to happen is that they admit they’ve made a mistake and they’ve done wrong, and they’re liable for the consequences," Canter says. "And the judge and the prosecutor and the defender get together and say, we want to develop a track."
That track could include counseling, education, and regular check-ins with the judge.
It’s a mostly-volunteer effort. Cantor says they’ll need money to pay a case worker to work with the veterans.
One such program in Nashua is already up and running. Canter says he hopes to have the program in Coös County running by early next year.