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Crime And Courts

C.O. veterans urge creation of Veterans Court for cases involving PTSD, other issues

One supporter says his life was turned around by a compassionate judge

La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A roundtable discussion took place Thursday in La Pine among supporters who want Deschutes County to create a veterans treatment court.

They are specialty courts with judges who have a better understanding of veterans and their issues, including substance addiction, PTSD and traumatic brain injury, to name a few.

Such veterans treatment courts also can help link veterans with programs, benefits and services they have earned through their service.

Bill Minnix, who hosted the La Pine event, says veterans tend to feel shame when dealing with the justice system.

"Walking into a veterans court, as we saw in the video today, changes that. You don't walk into a courtroom with a black box of shame guilt and fear," Minnix said. "Enclosed within you, you're outside of that box, because you feel that you're protected."

Minnix says there are more than 400 veterans treatment courts in the US.

La Pine Mayor Daniel Richer, who served in the Marines, was among those in attendance.

"If we can take and find out why a veteran is having difficulty re-entering society or encountering problems that they are, prior to them entering the legal system, then I think we're way far ahead," Richer said. "We've saved money and helped society, by making a functional person out of somebody who was not."

Army veteran Kriston Jones also supports the idea.

"When I got out of the service, I struggled with PTSD, and that led me down a dark road with addiction, and ultimately getting in trouble with the legal system," Jones said.

Jones said he was fortunate that the judge in his case showed compassion for him.

"I was scheduled to go to prison, and that judge asked me if I was a veteran, out of nowhere." he said.

Jones said the judge ultimately sent him to a rehab program.

"She was probably the last one to have any kind of faith in me in that moment," he said.

Jones said it turned his life around, and he hopes a veterans court could do the same for others.

"I've been able to get my life back," he said. "I've been able to catch up on taxes. I've been able to get my driver's license back. And it happened in such a short amount of time -- and that's why I think this is really important."

Central Oregon / Government-politics / La Pine / News / Top Stories / War-Military
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Blake Allen

Blake Allen is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.



  1. I have my doubts about special veterans treatment. Sure, if you actually served in combat, then you might have very unique issues. But, if you were just a grunt, worked at a military job for a few years, and then claim all kinds of issues, come on. True story: my neighbor has full Air Force disability. Why? Because she was a therapist for Air Force vets with PTSD. She never left Washington State base, but treated vets for years, claimed PTSD from her job and now gets full disability. The system is way out of wack. I used to hike with a guy who got $1800 a month lifetime payment for bad back from jumping out of helicopters in Afganistan. Now, he had a bit of back pain, but no more than my sore back from a lifetime of exercise. and, he did the Appalachian Trail in record time.

      1. No, I never served. My Dad was a WWII officer, served in the Pacific Theater. He never, I mean never, said a word about the war, and he went in as soon as we declared (well, he had to break a few rules because he was a polio survivor). He went on Active Reserve for 20 years, ended up a Major, but that is another story. I have met many veterans of much younger age, and most of them tell stories of boredom, routine, basically all the stories of any ‘job’. There is the very small minority who actually saw combat; now, that is whole ‘nother story.

        1. You should probably just take your comments somewhere else. Because you talked to a couple people that served you are all of the sudden an expert. Unless you are a vet then your opinion here carries about as much weight as a bag of flaming garbage. It’s funny that you comment this on an anonymous comment board. You are nothing but a coward. I bet you are one that said ya I was going to enlist but I had this pinky toe injury. What a piece of garbage!

          1. – you mean like commander and chief bone spurs? – combat vets rarely advertise their status as vets, and certainly don’t go on a self-serving tirade like the one you just spewed – maybe it is the desire to prevent others from suffering because they know what it is like

    1. If your story is true why not go next door and show your comment to your Air Force veteran neighbor?

      I’m sure she/he will appreciate your total ignorance as to the challenges of a therapist’s job, duties, and responsibilities working as she/he did with our most injured, wounded, or ill. I’m sure she/he will take a few moments…before perhaps slamming the door in your face…to share the constant battles faced by our behavioral health therapists with their own supervisors as well as commanders who did all possible to challenge the Service Member’s wellness. I’m sure he/she will share a few heartbreaking stories about patients who took their own lives, with your neighbor only able to report back to work the next day and “drive on”.

      No one who “claims” a diagnosis is granted disability benefits, care and treatment. The process of diagnosis and then filing a claim and then seeing that claim crawl through the military and then VA medical systems is unreal. And many of our medical / behavioral health professionals have put off their own “invisible wounds” to continue to care for their patients until the damage is beyond the pale.

      As for your claimed “friend” who you offer has an approved disability payment of $1800 a month…for “jumping out of helicopters in Afghanistan”…again, it is clear you know ZERO about war-fighting and ZERO about being wounded/injured/made ill in conjunction with your military service. How do you know how she/he feels physically? How do you know what medications he/she might be taking to manage chronic pain? How do you know what else she/he saw, heard, felt, did after “jumping” out of that helicopter in Afghanistan?

      Simple answer. You know nothing.

      And you are no friend, no good neighbor, no one I’d want on my right or left flank in a TIP (that’s troops in contact), or especially on my SIX and watching / responsible for my back.

      Here’s a little story for you and anyone else to read. It describes the reality of caring for our troops – and the cost involved for those who do to the utmost of their abilities.

      “Special treatment”? Your comment proves once again it is impossible to fix Stupid.

  2. Isn’t this basically what was behind Defund the Police, reallocation of police dept funds to specialty groups to handle mental health and drug issues for all such instances, not just veterans?

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