Share This Page

New federal court program in Western Pennsylvania aids convicted veterans

| Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

A new court-managed program in Western Pennsylvania will help veterans convicted of federal crimes upon their release from prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The program differs from veterans courts in Allegheny and Butler counties that allow veterans with mental health or substance abuse problems to get treatment instead of prison time. This one will help them with housing, job training, transportation and treatment for substance abuse and mental health problems.

Volunteer veteran mentors will provide emotional, psychological and social support. A judge must approve entry into the program, which will be operational by Nov. 11, which is Veterans Day, said U.S. Attorney David Hickton.

In addition to judges and prosecutors, the U.S. Probation Office, Public Defender's Office and Veterans Administration are participating.

Hickton said the plan is to add a pretrial diversion component when the court and agencies identify crimes related to a veteran's problems with reintegrating into civilian society after a deployment. The program then would allow veterans to avoid convictions on such crimes and get treatment instead, he said.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.